Response to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills call for views on CSR

Business in the Community believes that business is the most powerful force for change in society.

Business in the Community has responded to the government’s call for views on corporate social responsibility (CSR); supporting the approach that Government has taken yet calling for greater alignment with internationally recognised principles and policy approaches that support social initiatives.

We also make clear that from our experience, CSR encompasses all areas of business activity which includes the workplace, the marketplace and the community – what we would call responsible business. Therefore we argue that the remit of the call for views was not wide enough and asked that in considering future policy proposals government policy reflects this integrated approach to company activity.

Other recommendations include:

  • Call for integrated approaches to reporting.

  • Encouragement of the use of tools and case studies designed to support SMEs develop their own approaches to corporate responsibility.

  • Promoting a level playing field for SMEs to access opportunities, providing capacity support, supporting access to finance and prompt payment by Government and larger businesses.

  • The use of public sector procurement as a positive lever for change.

  • Development of innovative policy approaches which support social initiatives that include the growth in employee volunteers, secondees and career breaks.

  • Support for the use of awards that will identify, frame and publicise responsible business best practice.

The timing of the submission could not have been better timed. That same week, Accenture published a survey of CEOs that showed that 83% see an increase in efforts by government and policy makers to provide an enabling environment for the private sector as integral to advancing sustainability.

The responsible business policy agenda can and should better shape market rules to address these long term environmental sustainability challenges, and this agenda should also support business in addressing challenges in communities and in workplaces.

Business in the Community is committed to working with government, our members and other partners to shape the responsible business agenda. For more information as to how you can get involved, please contact, Jon Hudson.