7 Ways CSR can Support Your Business
So far in this blog, we’ve explored what CSR is and how to identify areas CSR could be used within your business. This week, we’ll be showing you the impact CSR can achieve in seven key areas of business development.
CSR can support you to overcome the challenges of scaling-up and expansion, helping your business cultivate the right skills, suppliers, brand engagement and infrastructure to enable growth and mitigate its risks. Short-term this could involve engaging with communities or areas prior to growth, whilst the long-term potential to grow the right conditions for sustainable business are as diverse as each individual businesses objectives.
An effective CSR is a long-term investment in better efficiency. A sustainable approach to resources, the value of greater skills within the organisation and its wider network, investing in innovation outside of the company, and an effective supply-chain over time all add value that contributes to a more efficient, more competitive business.
Powering your people
Traditionally staff costs will represent the biggest expense of a company, and therefore represent one of the biggest opportunities to add value to your business. Engaging, training and supporting your team is an invaluable part of helping them achieve their potential within their role and the company. More broadly, investing in communities, investing in networks, and investing in the next generation all create a positive imprint on consumers and audiences that can become a significant asset.
Adding value to your brand
CSR is a compass for risk mitigation, protecting against fluctuations in consumer attitudes when less favourable practices come into public view. However, the opportunity offered to brands to develop their voice through CSR is enormous, recognised by cause marketing being one of the largest growth areas within the industry. Sustainable or ethical identities are increasingly being offered as the USP of businesses, a movement recognisable across a huge range of industries, from fashion to energy to food.
Developing access to technologies and innovation
Traditional R&D departments have become an increasingly fluid concept, with large businesses diversifying their approach to innovation to incorporate ranges of external investment. These investments become a resource for sharing best practice, access to new technologies and a head-start on competitors as your industry evolves.
Building your networks
Working with external groups opens up new networks, which can become an asset to a business and its development. Investment in these groups, through initiatives such as supporting external businesses and organisations, offering educational opportunities, working with community activities or investing regionally, builds relationships that can make a positive impact on the opportunities your business can pursue.
Securing a long-term strategy
Investing in external conditions offers greater security on investments in your long-term business strategy. Acknowledging the influence external changes can have on plans to reach longstanding business objectives is not new, and neither is attempting to influence them. However, CSR offers a structure to that influence and a pre-emptive approach which helps protect the investments made within the business. This could be ensuring there is a competitive local labour market, the right skills in the business or region to carry the strategy forward, or that there is appropriate infrastructure in place.