Awareness and Corporate Social Responsibility

Storm Barratt, Course Director, Staffordshire Business School


Almost never a day goes by, when we aren’t reminded that “today” is National, International or even Global “something” awareness day or week or month. From the ever-popular Christmas Jumper day to my own particular favourite – National Squirrel Appreciation Day (!), from National Allotment week to Fairtrade fortnight to National Bed month.

All of these campaigns are designed to raise awareness and/or funds for some serious and not so serious issues. So, why as a business, would you want to know this?

Firstly, all businesses have basic ethical and legal responsibilities; however, the most successful businesses establish a strong foundation of corporate citizenship, showing a commitment to ethical behaviour by creating a balance between the needs of shareholders and the needs of the community and environment in the surrounding area. These practices help bring in consumers and establish brand and company loyalty.

It is considered normal for businesses to balance the other stakeholders’ needs with those of the shareholders during the decision-making process. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goes even further, making the general public a stakeholder and shows that the business wishes to actively improve things for everyone.

Image Source: www.growthbusiness.co.uk

For any business making a profit is still key and, of course, the needs of employees, customers and suppliers must be satisfied if the business is to survive. However, Corporate Social Responsibility has become far more important over the last few decades with consumers worrying about how the products they buy were made and how companies that they buy from are run. On many company websites there will be narratives of how they look after the environment and all the CSR initiatives of which they are a part.

Corporate social responsibility comes in many forms. Even the smallest company impacts social change by making a simple donation to a local food bank. Some of the most common examples of CSR include:

  • Reducing carbon footprints
  • Improving labour policies
  • Participating in Fairtrade
  • Charitable giving
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Corporate policies that benefit the environment
  • Socially and environmentally conscious investments

The growing popularity of National Awareness Days can tap into these initiatives helping a company both internally and externally.


One internal perspective is if your employees can see that the business is taking a caring approach, by raising funds for charity for instance, involving the staff may mean that they become more motivated to engage with each other working towards a common goal. In fact, whilst “Wear a Christmas Jumper to Work” day seems an opportunity to raise a smile amongst colleagues as we approach the long dark winter months, the serious aspect is that the jumper wearers are raising money for a great cause.

Another perspective is using “Awareness Days” to help a business promote their product or service (all the better if this can also highlight the CSR approach taken by the company). The issues can make an ideal marketing tool for a business, providing inspiration for marketing content.

By adding context to an awareness day, a business can plan their content by linking a day to their product or service, so for example an artisan baker could showcase their expertise and knowledge during Real Bread Week, or a nutritionist could use National Allotment Week to encourage healthy and organic eating whilst promoting their own healthy eating programme.

It’s not just about direct promotion though. Awareness days can provide a great opportunity for a business to engage in conversation with future consumers via social media using hashtags associated with the cause, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This will allow people to find and contact you, consequently building your audience.

From engaging with employees to good PR to corporate social responsibility, supporting a national awareness day is a great way to show which values are important to you and your business. It can differentiate you from your competitors and allow you to build partnerships with charities and organisations that share your beliefs. With the potential to build trust as well as give a little back, it’s a win-win situation for all.


Become a responsible leader of global business.

Do you want to be at the forefront of modern enterprise? Our BA (Hons) Business Management and Sustainability course challenges the traditional interpretations of enterprise and will open your mind to a broad range of contemporary themes in business.

Our emphasis on ethical business and sustainability will position you to create long-lasting value for your organisation and you will learn the practical skills needed to become a responsible business leader.

Second Report-ASAP meeting

The second national meeting of the Report ASAP took place on the 11th and 12th of April in Milan, Italy, hosted by our partner EUROCREA Merchant. All project partners were represented.

The meeting atmosphere was very friendly and collaborative, and everyone was highly motivated.

In this second meeting, the results of the first intellectual output “the Knowledge Gap Framework” was wrapped up. The results of the surveys conducted in the six participating countries (UK, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece) were presented and discussed.

Also, the foundations for intellectual output 2 “the Training Course and Trainer’s Guide” were set including setting the timeframes for the project’s milestones.

 The next meeting of the consortium will be at the beginning of November in Spain.

All this hard work was complemented by the Italian nice food, culture and hospitality.

For further information about the Report-ASAP project go to https://report-asapproject.eu.Logo

Empowering SMEs through sustainability

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key players in achieving sustainability. In the EU-27, 99% of companies are SMEs (with 250 or fewer employees) and they employ two thirds of European workers (EU, 2017). An individual SME may have small social, environmental and financial impact; collectively SMEs have a great impact. More than 70% of all pollution can be attributed to SMEs.

Graph showing the number of SMEs as a percentage of the total number of enterprises in EU countries

Graph showing the number of SMEs as a percentage of the total number of enterprises in EU countries

SMEs can benefit from sustainability by:

  • Strengthening relationships with stakeholders.
  • Demonstrating transparency.
  • Enhancing business value and
  • Securing their right from society to operate.
  • Achieving continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Attracting long term capital.
  • Strengthening risk awareness and management.
  • Improving regulatory compliance (e.g. greenhouse gas emission data).
  • Reducing the burden of environmental fines and taxation.

However, SMEs lack the knowledge regarding sustainability problems (i.e. what is sustainability, which process to follow, what are the potential benefits, etc.). Existing frameworks, standards and protocols to assist companies in adopting and implementing the sustainability practices are complex, especially for SMEs, since they are designed as “one size fits all” with large enterprises in mind. SMEs’ staff do not have the experience or tools to address sustainable issues and need to be educated and trained about sustainability principles if they are to take a proactive approach toward sustainability.

Report ASAP Project (Adoption of Sustainable Accounting Practices for Reporting), aims to help small and medium size business report on their sustainability by providing the necessary training and tools to adopt sustainable accounting and reporting practices in a cost-effective way. This project will provide the necessary training and tools for SMEs staff in six (6) countries: UK, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece.

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This project will develop a training course and an online tool, where SMEs can discover the most relevant sustainability reporting practices for them. Help us define the features and content of this tool by filling the online questionnaire available at https://report-asapproject.eu/.

If you would like to be invited to the training please remember to tick the relevant box at the end of the questionnaire. The outcome of this study will be available online as well. Feel free to send us any additional comment/question to the project leader Dr Souad Moufty at: souad.moufty@staffs.ac.uk.

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