You don’t need to be a big corporation, to be a force for good. If you’re looking to help build a better world for future generations, you need to become socially responsible. Corporate social responsibility involves implementing practices and policies within your business to help you create a more positive impact on the community and world around you.

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model that helps you be socially accountable to yourself, others involved in your business and general members of the public. It’s about being consciously aware of your impact on the environment, society, and the economy.

A CSR business looks to operate in a way that enhances those elements of society, not negatively impact them. It’s working with values that honour those elements, not just being focused on maximising your profits.

Isn’t corporate social responsibility just a big business issue?

Although CSR is a strategy primarily adopted by large corporations, it isn’t something that’s limited to big companies. The concept behind it can be adopted by any sized business and can take many forms.

The activities you implement as part of CSR help you feel more connected to the world around you and give back to society. It allows you to form stronger bonds with your local community. When you implement CSR practices, you’re also inspiring your employees to honour their personal ethical convictions too.

Some of you will have noticed the UK VA Awards now asks a question about whether or not you have a CSR policy for your business. 

How can a VA demonstrate good CSR?

So how can you demonstrate good corporate social responsibility within your VA business? Think about how you can give back to your community. Look into how you can reduce your environmental impact as a business owner. This can include choosing ethically sourced and recycled client gifts and cards, utilising a sustainably sourced materials policy, and using local suppliers. Check the companies you do business with aren’t reliant on unethical labour practices and ensure they participate in ethical practices too.

Also, think about how you can incorporate a sense of corporate social responsibility into the services you provide and your overall brand. Can you implement a policy of donating a percentage of your earnings to local charities or sponsoring local events? How about opting to support local tree-planting initiatives or volunteering for a local river clean drive?

And then there are your clients. Do they honour the values you adhere to, or are they part of the problem? You want to be working with clients who hold similar values and beliefs as you. Otherwise, there’s going to be a disconnect between yourself and your beliefs. If you want to do your best work, you need to value the people you work with – and vice versa.

Corporate social responsibility is something that we can all get on board with. It improves your public image and helps set you apart from the crowd. But it only works if you go all-in on it. There’s a lot you can do within your business to demonstrate how much you care for the environment and society as a whole. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to be willing to look into people you deal with too – both in terms of suppliers and clients.

If you’d like to learn more about CSR Accreditation for your business, check out the CSR-A website. They have a wealth of information on corporate social responsibility and all you need to know about getting accredited. And if you’re looking to grow your VA business in a supportive, value-driven, supportive community, check out our very own VA Membership.