An Expert Guide To: Corporate Social Responsibility

13th March 2019

Corporate Social Responsibility – A guide from our experts

Last updated: Dec 17, 2021 @ 11:21 am

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of companies to consider how they impact the society and environments in which they work.

CSR goes above the minimum legal standards a company has to comply with. This makes every company work to improve the overall quality of life in the places it operates. This is often achieved through transparency and ethical approaches.

The actions that a company takes are voluntary and its approach will be varied from one company to another. It will be driven by a range of factors:

  • Business Size

Large national companies will be able to impact society and environments much more than smaller companies will. They have much more power to improve the areas they work in. This does not mean smaller companies don’t need to do CSR. Every company needs to play its part in improving society and the environment around them.

  • Sector

The sector a business works in will influence how they deliver their Corporate Social Responsibility approaches. For example:

Companies in the Private Sector will have the flexibility to deliver bespoke projects to drive CSR forward, improving focused areas in society.

Public Sector bodies carry a large responsibility to care for wide parts of the country. Their approach to Corporate Social Responsibility may be very long term. Improvements may be made over many years.

Charities, or the ‘third’ sector may have a very specific focus for their CSR delivery which may meet the aims of their organisation closely.

  • Locality

Companies may also wish to provide their Corporate Social Responsibility in a designated area. For example, a small business in Durham may wish to deliver CSR to the County Durham area. This is where they will see the benefits in action.

Larger companies with multiple offices have been known to copy their CSR approaches at local sites to share benefits across many communities. 

What the experts think…

In 2014 the Government produced a report which detailed the country’s views on what CSR meant for them.

Many respondents to the survey agreed that CSR has come a long way. It was originally regarded as philanthropy or as an add-on to the actual works they undertook. Now it has evolved and has become a key part of how businesses spend and earn their money.

Businesses themselves have learnt how CSR can really benefit their growth and development. Even huge companies have benefitted from delivering CSR:

“Many companies view CSR as philanthropy or little more than eco-efficiency by reducing operating costs through energy, water and waste reduction.  

“This narrow perspective means many businesses fail to examine what this agenda means for their organisation and consumers in future, depriving the organisation of the ambition to pursue new business opportunities and transform their business model.”

– Jonathan Garrett, Jaguar Land Rover.

Examples of Corporate Social Responsibility

So, your company is realising the potential benefits of CSR, more than just the requirement to consider it. But what can you actually do as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility?

The simple answer is anything.

The whole idea of CSR is to deliver responsible business practices which will benefit society.

The most common outputs from a business corporate social responsibility approach include:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the company (environmental benefits)
  • Improving the quality of work for staff and supply chains (business benefits)
  • Engaging in charity donations and/or volunteering within the communities (charitable benefits)
  • Changing your business approaches to provide benefits to the society or environment. (Popular examples include: bringing in Electric fleet vehicles and Cycle to work schemes)

If your company isn’t able to implement sweeping changes, you can still provide a strong approach to Corporate Social Responsibility.

Examples of the smaller approaches to CSR include:

  • Taking a day out of your business calendar to plant trees, flowers or new green areas.
  • Setting up recycling bins to separate waste as part of a wider drive to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ waste.
  • Minimising paper use by adopting new technologies.
  • Switching to LED bulbs in business properties.
  • Adopting remote working practices to reduce negative impacts of commuter traffic.

What are the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility?

Companies who deliver CSR have realised that having a responsible business approach is not only good for society, but it can also lead to benefits for the business:

  • Increase in staff recruitment, morale and retention.
  • Lower risks in managing supply chains and subcontractors.
  • Driving productivity and innovation.
  • Opening up new markets and supporting business development.

In addition to the direct benefits your company will see, corporate social responsibility can benefit you more widely:

  • Governmental reports have shown that companies demonstrating their commitment to CSR are regarded more highly than those who do not.

Don’t just take our word for it:

“88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”

– Better Business Journey, UK Small Business Consortium

  • You can expect increased public interest and media attention as a result of the benefits you provide in the communities you work in. The more you benefit the community, the more media interest you will get. You will need to maintain good relations with media agencies to maximise the benefits.
  • Engaging with CSR approaches can make you eligible for access to investment and funding opportunities. This can be a really beneficial way to drive your business development.
  • You can use your approach to Corporate Social Responsibility to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Corporate Social Responsibility as a tendering requirement

So, you have an idea of Corporate Social Responsibility. You may have even been delivering significant CSR outputs for the communities you work across. But do you know why you need to demonstrate CSR in a tendering environment?

It is a fact that over the last few years, public procurement has changed to include an ever-greater focus on CSR. Buyers now regularly want to know what you will do to provide additional societal benefits to any contract you are awarded.

Depending on the contract and location of the businesses involved, the types of CSR you may demonstrate can vary, but the focus will remain – societal and environmental benefits. Sometimes these questions are for information only, and sometimes they make up a significant part of the marking criteria for the tender.

The team at Hudson Succeed are experienced in responding to Corporate Social Responsibility requirements in tendering. We have seen:

  • Pass / Fail CSR questions within Supplier Questionnaires and/or PQQ documents requesting confirmation of, and examples of CSR policies.
  • Qualitatively scored and weighted questions which request a detailed breakdown of how you will implement CSR across the contract.

Further Information

We have a range of services available to support your response to CSR focussed tendering questions. If you require any further information regarding Corporate Social Responsibility in tendering then get in touch with our team today.

Our Bid Writers can help you when tendering for contracts. They can advise you on writing winning bids and give you more information about the tendering process in general.

Don’t forget to visit our virtual learning environment, Tender VLE, for free video masterclasses regarding all things tendering.

Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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