Fourth Day promotes social responsibility

Lisa Henshaw is from Fourth Day, a company that promotes social responsibility in businesses and she has recently said, “There is a common misconception in the business world but in order to have a corporate social responsibility, or CSR, programme then a business needs to be large and have a significant budget. However, this is not the case and small companies can have a program beneficial to interests outside their own.”

In the UK there are around 5 million small to medium-sized enterprises and they are responsible for employing over half of the people in the country. Ms Henshaw has said, “It is important that we encourage small businesses to get involved with CSR and start setting themselves long-term goals and starting responsibility programmes. It might seem daunting at first, especially as small businesses tend to have limited resources but with a little effort a program can be launched.”

It is important that businesses do not see a CSR programme at just a way to spend the company’s money without increasing profits. Instead, a CSR programme should be seen as an investment in a business. Many CSR initiatives will mean that the business gets involved with the local community and this can increase the number of business opportunities open to them. It is also a great opportunity to network and if you are attending a charity fundraiser the chances are there will be several business heavy hitters at the event.

Business executives often take the role of the trustee in a charity in their own time or after they have retired so this can be a good opportunity to find people useful to you. Advertising your CSR programme to your clients and customers can also give you an edge over the competition as many people like the idea that your business is ethical.

In larger corporations, there will be people employed specifically to do CSR but this is something small businesses probably can’t afford. It is still important however to find a champion within your business who can promote a responsibility program. It is important that this person is passionate about it so be careful when you choose them.

In order for your responsibility program to succeed it is important to set goals so that your program is focused and makes sense to the type of business you are operating. Different businesses will be interested in different things to make sure that your initiative is something that you feel passionate about. Your program should also be related to your business, so consider the typical things that you could do to be more responsible, for example, if you’re in the transport business then think about how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Without the human resources of a large company establishing, and keeping running, a CSR programme can seem like an overwhelming challenge. Fortunately though there are a great many organisations out there who can help you establish a program. Look to the local community organisations that link local businesses with the community and see how you can get involved with them.

As with any business objectives it is important to measure how successful you are being and when you achieve your goals you must celebrate. Ellie Thouret has experience in setting up a CSR programme at a small business and has commented, “We found that our employees love being involved with our responsibility program and they would come back to the office and tell colleagues about what a great time they were having. This would have the effect of getting other people involved in the programme and it has become a great success.”