Why is Corporate Social Responsibility Important?
Building a robust CSR strategy involves working closely with staff and the supply chain, says Kirsten Motyl.
A strategic approach to CSR is increasingly important in today’s competitive environment. It can bring benefits in terms of customer relationships, cost savings, risk management and human resource management. It also encourages more responsibility from businesses against the backdrop of a number of high profile incidents over the last few years.
As we move forward through 2017 it is becoming a prerequisite of our client base to demonstrate that we operate in a socially responsible manner, through the conformity of our business processes and procedures. This not only applied to our business but also the entire supply chain.
In 2015 Brand Addition decided to take the proactive stance in achieving SA8000, a voluntary CSR standard which is externally audited on an annual basis. This demonstrates that products purchased from Brand Addition have been ethically sourced and all of the facilities and staff employed within that supply chain are treated fairly in a clean and suitable work environment.
This process started by developing an internal framework through internal strategies around CSR and detailing our core principles, who is responsible, and building a team to implement our policy. A good CSR policy should outline:
- The core principles of what you are trying to achieve
- A code of business conduct and ethics, covering:
- External parties
- Compliance with law and regulations
- Work environments
- Community involvement
- Health and Safety
Once these core principles have been outlined then clear policies and procedures should be created, to inform and follow to ensure compliance against your CSR policy. Roll out internally is conducted through regular training and communication. Remember though that the CSR policy does not only cover your facility but also that of your supply chain. It is therefore essential that you engage as early as possible with your supply base communicating your intentions, what it will mean for them, and then collaboratively working together to educate and train on the requirements and how these will be implemented.
Once the system is up and running then regular maintenance of the system is required through internal audit and regular supplier visits to ensure conformity against the policy.
For any CSR programme to be successful, it is all about commitment. CSR policies and processes must be supported from the top down, have full business commitment and be integrated into standard working practices. Without this, implementation will always be challenging.
Kirsten Motyl is group quality and compliance manager at Brand Addition.