An opportunity to share your thoughts on CSR with the government…

The Government is currently consulting on Corporate Responsibility, so why not air your views at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/corporate-responsibility-call-for-views

It struck me, whilst reading some of the key questions being asked, that perhaps part of the problem may be in how we approach the area of responsibility; seeing it as a whole range of individual activities, each of which we feel we should excel on. Examples of some of the questions asked are:

  • How do companies manage their supply chains responsibly?
  • How can SMEs adopt best practices normally associated with big business?
  • What are the main barriers to businesses contributing to social initiatives?

How easy would it be to roll all three of these areas into one piece of activity? Well possibly not that easy, but it would certainly be possible and probably more than worth it.

Big business is certainly keen to engage with suppliers on price, production and transport efficiency and increasingly on wider issues such as waste packaging, chain of custody etc.

It would not take the biggest step change in approach for big business to take time out to engage their suppliers on social issues. Not one or two favoured suppliers on small scale projects, but a reciprocal agreement where big business asks their suppliers to make a commitment of 1 day a year to help on education (for example) in their local community. The part played by big business is to provide some initial ideas and opportunities to engage on this agenda, in this instance e.g.

  • Mentoring a teacher for a day, or offering workplace experience at their firm
  • Offering work placements to young people
  • Painting a local school
  • Refurbishing a playground
  • Going in to a school listen to children reading

As part of a tender document, suppliers could be asked to outline ideas they have or what they would do. Activity and impact could be fed into an on-line portal and reported on annually. It offers an incentive to become involved, a structure and a way of measuring and reporting – probably three of the main barriers to engagement.

Well it’s an idea, I’m sure there are better ones out there so why not feed them into the consultation process? The consultation closes on 27th September 2013.