Feature: The Evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has come a long way since the term was introduced back in the 1960s.
It’s no longer about setting lofty and idealistic expectations, which compete with financial business goals. The CSR program for the future-ready business works in harmony with these goals and is sustainable in all senses of the word: it ensures the future environment, customers, staff and profits of the company.
It is developed through careful consideration of the range of benefits that CSR can bring to a business, and it uses innovation and new technology to achieve a win-win-win for everyone involved.
Planet, people, profit
By focusing on these three elements – often referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’ – innovative companies have made sure that a sustainability program is fully integrated into the business strategy, and is not an afterthought or a box-ticking exercise.
Business leaders across the company need to be committed to driving the program forward at every opportunity and this means they all need to understand the full spectrum of benefits it can bring.
At Innovation Group, a provider of insurance software solutions and business process outsourcing, the senior leadership team, including Chief Executive Andy Roberts, have all completed an advanced, in-house, three hour e-learning course in sustainability, so that they can help spread the word throughout the company.
Today’s marketers understand the importance of differentiating products and services to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Differentiation based on a responsible outlook and an innovative and efficient response to the changing global climate is much more desirable than just price differentiation.
Without increased volumes, price differentiation is unsustainable and will starve a business of future investment.
Investing in the future
Shareholders appreciate that by building a global infrastructure to accurately calculate and report carbon emissions it is an investment in the future.
Working with the Carbon Fix Foundation, who built the bespoke, online tool Smart Carbon™, Innovation Group is able to implement and track plans to reduce these emissions, which is great news for the environment, but also helps to achieve cost savings through a reduction in energy requirements.
The carbon reduction plan is estimated to have saved the company around 857.27 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the first year of its implementation (FY2013). By becoming less reliant on limited sources of energy, a business is insuring themselves against future shortages and price rises.
Helping others to do business
It’s not only customers who want to do business with a responsible partner, but suppliers too. By using Smart Carbon™ to assess the supply chain of one division, Innovation Group is helping other businesses to calculate and reduce their carbon footprint too.
The Group has invited suppliers of one division to attend a roadshow and complete an e-learning course to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability in corporate planning. There are plans to extend this to other parts of the business.
All of this helps the company’s suppliers promote efficiencies across the entire value chain, leading to savings at key points in the process. These savings can then in turn be passed on to customers.
Preparing for what lies ahead
Operating within the global insurance sector, Innovation Group knows that the industry is set to be impacted by climate change – the existence of which there is now no doubt.
For its clients, climate change is increasing the number of insurance claims (caused by natural disasters), meaning they need to be more aware and more prepared for these climate events than ever before.
By demonstrating that they understand these issues, and are putting in place solutions to reduce their impact, suppliers, customers, and customers’ customers can feel confident in doing business with companies ready for the future.
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