Take Corporate Social Responsibility seriously in 2015

CSR, “the way that a business takes into account the financial, environmental and social impacts of decisions and actions it is involved in” (smallbizconnect)

Progress in CSR has been disappointing over the last 10 years according to the findings of the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility,  “ACCSR: The State of CSR in Australia and New Zealand Annual Review 2014.”   The increases in awareness that have been reported tend to relate to the environmental contributions to CSR, focusing on environmental reporting and recycling which are closely aligned with the goals and solutions provided by BottleCycler.

It’s likely that we will see increasing government regulation around the world to enhance the accountability of corporate social responsibility, which at present remains predominantly voluntary.

However there’s little doubt that it’s becoming increasingly important to consumers to know more about the sustainability and environmental impact of the goods and services they purchase.   Competitive advantage can be gained by companies with successful strategies to mitigate their environmental impact and enhance the quality of their stakeholder relationships.  This is often hard to measure but has a positive impact on consumer appeal, reputation, brand image, employee attraction and retention. Those that choose to ignore business practices that adhere to the concept of CSR do so at their peril, with negative results measurable in their bottom line and brand reputation.  We saw this with the supply chain practices of Nike some years ago which led to the burning of Nike shoes and a fall in earnings of 69% in 1998.  More recently, other major retailers such as Disney, Walmart and Sears were on the receiving end of consumer resentment following fatal factory accidents in Bangladesh.

Company behaviour is increasingly important to consumers and as a result over two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies now report on CSR and non-financial activity.

Gathering the data can be difficult.  Tracking operational metrics is one quantitative way that companies measure, set targets and track performance.  Tons of carbon emitted is a measure that is increasingly used.

At BottleCycler we support our clients with the preparation of CO² reports to enhance their public disclosures and assist them with the monitoring of carbon emissions.   These reports include kgs of glass collected for recycling and kgs of carbon dioxide saved, data which is used in monitoring the company’s progress in meeting the goals of their CSR and Sustainability Programme.

Sample glass recycling report: http://goo.gl/EkVVHc