Social responsibility can be a money-spinner for businesses

Businesses can broaden their customer base, improve their profile, increase productivity and cut down on costs if they adopt a more caring attitude towards their local community.

This is the gist of a new report, Business and Society: developing corporate social responsibility in the UK, by the Government, released as part of a new package of measures designed to encourage corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the UK.

Kim Howells, Minister for Corporate Social Responsibility, commented: “Corporate responsibility does not end with a tax payment to the Exchequer… and survey after survey has shown that a company which gives something back to its community can reap rich dividends…”

Examples highlighted by the report include Travelsphere, which was the first mainstream travel company to offer a specialized service to partially-sighted and blind people. Not only has it generated more than £100,000 in sales in a completely new market, but by providing a specialised service it has secured repeat business, and by being first, has beaten its competitors to a new niche in the market.

Relatively small business box-makers AssiDoman’s profile “has soared with regular coverage in the local press” and nationally, due to its work with schools. Huco Lightronic was named the “Best-Trained Workforce in Great Britain” in 2000, with its work in training and education proving an “enormous public relations success” as the award received national radio coverage. Added to this, its staff turnover is just 2%, and its job vacancies attract a “huge number of skilled and enthusiastic applicants”.

As well as providing examples of business involvement in tackling social and environmental problems, and the business benefits derived from that, the report provides sources of further advice and information for businesses, such as Business in the Community. There will also be provided an online forum on the issue of finding a way forward for corporate social responsibility with examples of corporate social responsibility for businesses of all sizes, plus further sources of advice and information on the subject.

Related: How corporate social responsibility can work for small businesses

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