An ACTION plan for Corporate Social Responsibility
Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures
SMEs are increasingly realizing the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR is about managing environmental and social impacts to help your business reduce risks, improve results and enhance its reputation. Integrating CSR into the way you operate your business, and proactively letting others know what you are doing will not only enhance your business success, but will also benefit the larger community. How can SMEs implement CSR in an effective way?
SMEs (Small/Medium Enterprises) play a major role in helping the larger society by enhancing its CSR initiatives.
This can be executed at the lowest level by giving assistance to non profit organizations and small communities. By supporting these small communities, the small businesses can address issues of social significance such as environmental conservation. The following is an ACTION plan which SMEs can use to introduce CSR in a structured way.
Make sure that your CSR activities are relevant to your business and society. Think through the issues that have an effect on you, your employees and your business. Assess your current position so as to have a benchmark for measuring future progress against.
Commit to a statement which explains what being a responsible business means to your firm. Appoint a champion(s) to make sure that commitments are followed through. To be credible, the champion has to demonstrate the behavior they desire to see in their co-workers. They also need to have authority to effect any necessary changes.
Lay out your CSR business and ethical cases, and take advantage of every opportunity to promote them. Make sure responsible business in part of the agenda at all team meetings. Tell clients, staff, suppliers and customers what you are doing. Establish efficient and interactive dialogue with your main stakeholders (those who are likely to affect or be affected by your business). Your business can gain real benefits by informing people through notice boards, trade press, websites, newsletters and receiving awards.
Incorporate responsible business behavior within the business across different activities and functions. Identify concerns that are having an effect on the bottom line and consider how responsible business practices could mitigate these situations. Prioritize your intended actions as either short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Write down your business' present and anticipated risks and the actions which can be taken to address these.
Organize the CSR project management, appropriate business resources and establish targets. Consider individual and team building activities, and establish a long term association with community organizations. Communicate the objectives and boundaries to all stakeholders. Ensure that the staff understand and are able to participate in your company's responsible business opportunities.
Measure and report the CSR initiatives and use the feedback for business planning. Measuring benefits to the business and the community at large helps motivate investors, customers and staff. Reporting can be done formally through written reports, or informally through word of mouth.
Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.
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