1. Why have a CSR policy?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) basically means being a good corporate citizen and is applicable to SMEs just as much as to large corporates. The term CSR describes business behaviours that not only deliver commercial objectives and meet legal requirements but also have a positive social impact. It is a desire to run a business responsibly and align business strategy with CSR goals so as to have a significant and positive impact both on the business itself and the communities in which the business operates.
It may seem unnecessary to formalise what is or should be existing responsible business practice into a specific policy, but it can have significant advantages. Having a formal policy helps a business focus on what is important to that business and how it wants itself viewed externally. It can also help assess a business’s fundamental ethos. A CSR also offers the wider community tangible evidence of a business’s social commitment and can enhance its credibility (which may prove crucial in tendering for some contracts, particularly with larger clients or in the public sector with local authorities).
CSR will however mean significantly different things to different businesses. Environmental issues, for example, will be of significantly more importance to a waste management business than to a personal services company, which may place greater focus on community involvement. As such the waste management business should have a more involved and targeted environmental policy directed at its specific environmental impact. All CSR’s should however have real and achievable targets which can be actively measured.
2. What should a CSR cover?
For most SME’s, a CSR will cover:
• health & safety;
• environment; and
• the community.
How each is dealt with will depend on the importance that a business attributes to each one. We have created a template CSR (set out below) that covers all these areas but will need to be adapted to meet the needs/values of each business depending on the type of business it is. This CSR policy is, by its very nature, generic but covers all the main headline points. If the business or industry has specific practices, policies and procedures that it should/must adhere to, these should be referenced and worked into the CSR where relevant.
3. CSR Policy:
We are, UK Energy Management, an energy consultancy dedicated to reducing cost and carbon for commercial users of energy. The prosperity of our business and of the communities within which we operate requires a commitment to the sustainable management of our activities. We have therefore developed policies that affect and enhance all areas of our business, for example we aim to use zero paper and reusable plastics in our direct operations where possible. We wish to adopt and commit to the principles and practices set out below.
We are committed to the well-being and continual development of our people and to training our workforce, where employees are appreciated, valued and given regular feedback so that each employee has a clear understanding of their role and how they contribute to the business.
We operate a meritocracy, where all employees are recognised and rewarded on the basis of their performance, effort, contribution and achievements.
We expect our employees to act with integrity towards one another and exercise a high standard of business practice and workmanship.
We support diversity, fairness and equal opportunities and aim to involve and consult regularly with employees as to the direction of the business.
We aim to build long term relationships with all our customers and other stakeholders by understanding their objectives as they evolve over time and meeting their needs. We aim to give fair value, consistent quality and reliability.
We aim to have the highest professional and ethical standards and will be honest, open and transparent in all our dealings with customers.
We aim to create and maintain strong relationships with key suppliers and contractors. We aim to choose suppliers that share our ethos in relation to employment practices, quality and environmental controls. This will be communicated to all suppliers and potential suppliers.
3.5 Health & Safety
We aim to achieve and maintain the highest standards of health and safety and provide a safe and healthy working environment for all our activities. We have a current and effective written health and safety policy that is regularly reviewed and updated
We have implemented an environmental policy appropriate to our business. We are aware of our environmental impact as a business and have taken and continue to take appropriate steps to mitigate that impact, including setting environmental objectives and targets, implementing procedures and providing training so employees and contractors understand their environmental responsibilities and can seek to improve our environmental performance.
3.7 The Community
We recognise and understand the significance of the local community within which we operate. We aim to enhance our contribution to the community by being sensitive to the needs of local people and groups and promoting ethical and socially responsible trading. We actively support and donate to the following charities/non-profit organisations within our community.