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Community Business Partnership Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility is the term used when companies take responsibility for their impacts on the community, the environment and on the economy.

Breaking it down into seven areas can help communicate the breadth of corporate responsibility:

  • Human Rights - a broad and complex area of corporate responsibility, this is about companies' ethical obligation to uphold the human rights of others, particularly because employment directly affects people's quality of life.
  • Community Engagement - enhancing a company's working environment, and sustaining relationships and corporate reputation by working with and supporting the community.
  • Environmental Sustainability – reducing greenhouse gas emissions from switching lights out and computers off to having products certified as Greenhouse Friendly and installing green energy generators.
  • Workforce - making your company a place where people aspire to work by being flexible, promoting work/life balance and behaving ethically towards employees in the knowledge that it will generate productivity and loyalty.
  • Socially Responsible Investment - investing either directly, by screening out investments in companies with practices you don't want to support, or indirectly, by advising employees about superannuation companies with ethical investment options.
  • Good Governance - where the board of directors helps structure, support and monitor a company's CR initiatives, and where a company publicly reports on its CR performance.
  • Addressing Systemic Disadvantage - investing time, resources and support in areas of the community that experience chronic disadvantage.

Benefits

Businesses that engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility can produce benefits in the following areas:

  • Enhanced reputation in the community,
  • Customer loyalty
  • Strategic competitive advantage
  • Increased employee morale
  • Strengthening of brand value
  • Attraction of new employees

and more importantly have an impact on the fabric of society and the local community in which the business operates.

Market and Opinion Research International (MORI) and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Europe conducted the first consumer survey of attitudes toward CSR in late 2000. They surveyed 12,000 consumers across 12 European countries and found:

  • 70% of consumers surveyed said a company's commitment to social responsibility was important when buying a product or service.

How to get started 

When looking to commence

  • align CSR focus (i.e. social agenda) with business values, business plan and core competencies to benefit both society and your business
  • address a social issue that creates shared value and sustainable benefits
  • find an issue that effects wider society but will also have a direct impact on business operations.

Choosing a community partner

When choosing a community partner you may want to consider the following:

  • aligned to focus
  • size of organisation
  • geographical location of organisation
  • ability for employees to be involved
  • ability for organisation to partner with business
  • conduct research / survey of staff

Resourcedetails of local community organisations seeking a partnership

Components of partnership

A partnership can be formed based on a variety of components:

  • donation of time, i.e. unskilled volunteering, skilled volunteering (IT, business plans, etc)
  • working collaboratively on projects
  • board involvement
  • sponsorship (community event, program, documentary, exhibition, etc)
  • utilise infrastructure (training, event, meetings)

Resource – Community Business Partnership ideas from Australian Institute for Corporate Responsibility

Assessing potential benefits

When considering a partnership with a community organisation, potential benefits include:

  • media exposure
  • corporate logo exposure
  • increase in staff morale (team work, assisting in area that impact on staff member’s family i.e. (Autism, Depression)
  • staff learning’s (broadening their experiences)
  • expansion of customer reach (i.e. partner’s website, newsletter, etc)
  • size (community event, partner’s connections, website hits)
  • promotional material (event, program brochure)

Considerations

To ensure a positive and mutually beneficial outcome to the partnership, it is important to consider practical elements such as:

  • budget required
  • time required
  • infrastructure or resources required
  • what do you want to achieve from the partnership?
  • who in your business will take responsibility for the partnership?

Evaluation 

At the end of the partnership, or at regular stages throughout an ongoing partnership, an assessment of the key outcomes of the partnership can offer guidance for the future:

  • what have been the advantages of your partnership?
  • increased staff morale
  • media coverage
  • increase in consumers/customers
  • CSR reporting requirements (website or annual report)

Resource - Social Compass provides social research and evaluation to organisations across the government, business, university and community sectors.


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