If you are a small-business owner, you may think that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is something that only large corporations have to worry about. While it is true that major multinationals are putting increasing focus on this due to issues such as the escalating global focus on sustainability, CSR is not something that small companies can afford to ignore.

There are a number of reasons for this. Perhaps the most compelling is that as large companies implement their own CSR policies, they need their suppliers to have similar CSR initiatives in place – otherwise these multinational brands cannot claim to be socially responsible. This extends into many different areas, ranging from community engagement through to sustainability – for a broad range of insights, find out more on francescocoralloitalia.wordpress.com.

SME need corporate social responsibilityThe sooner that you start to create a CSR policy, the sooner you can start to lay a foundation to grow your business. This is not just about making it onto the approved supplier lists of big companies – although that is an important aspect. It is also about being able to attract business partners and other customers who view corporate responsibility as an essential criterion when establishing business relationships. It can also help you to attract employees who think that CSR is important – which you want to do, since these employees are typically more dedicated and diligent than those in the general labor pool. In fact, a study by the Center for Creative Leadership concluded that, “employees’ perceptions of their organizations concern for community and environment is linked to their level of organizational commitment … that is, the higher an employee rates their organization’s corporate citizenship, the more committed they are to the organization.”

Before you embark on putting a CSR program in place, you need to make sure that you are genuinely committed to the principle. Implementing an effective CSR initiative can be a significant effort as it needs to be embedded into the essential DNA of your company. In addition, unless you can demonstrate this genuine commitment, you are not going to see the benefits of your investment – customers, partners and employees will find it easy to pick up on any insincerity.

small business social responsibilityThere are a number of things that you need to keep in mind when implementing your CSR program. First of all, you need results to be measurable, and the yardstick needs to be something that everyone recognizes. Look for an internationally recognized standard that is relevant to your business, and make sure that certification is available. This could cover any one of a number of metrics – including sustainable sourcing, carbon footprint, waste recycling or community engagement. Next, look at your company’s culture and skills, and determine how you can lead in unique ways – this will make your CSR programs stand out, as well as making it easier to implement. Remember that imposing a top down CSR program rarely works – instead, you need to get the buy in and support all of your employees. Finally, only start to reach out once your baseline is in place – this will let you demonstrate to stakeholders that you have already made progress on your own.

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