For most small to medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the UK, the phrase 'corporate social responsability' is likely to be met with a response of 'that's only for large compnaies listed on the stock market' or 'how do I engage with that?'
However, ask most SMEs if they wish to be seen and respected as responsible businesses in the local and wider community, the answer will be probably be 'yes'.
The emergence and growth of corporate social responsibility (CSR)or corporate responsibility (CR)since the mid 1990s has not happened by accident. A combination of a series of high profile environmental accidents such as Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez, in combination with collapses bf large corporate such as Enrori, has led to a growing distrust of the business community. Society expects business to prove its positioning on social, ethical and environmental matters put simply we don't trust business that do not account for these impacts.
While the uptake of standards such as IS014001, and BS8555, along with an increase in non-financial reporting has helped to aid transparency of such impacts to wider stakeholders, the typical SME simply does not have the resources to produce such high level reports, or undertake certification to internationally recognised systems. How then can a UK-based SME engage on corporate social responsibility, or map its journey towards responsible business?