The future of CSR – and why acting responsibly is the future.

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Today’s blog post is from David Saul, Managing Director of BEG, one of the many Office Companies that we work with. David’s post concerns recycling and sustainability within business. Please leave any comments at the bottom after reading………

One of the world’s top thought leaders in the sustainability field, Dr. Wayne Visser recently published a book titled ‘The quest for Sustainable Business’. Within his work he makes a number of predictions about the future of CSR, and some of these predictions I feel, deserve of a closer look.

He argues that the 2020 world will be one in which, with the encouragement of consumers and governments, and possibly in accordance with mandatory requirements, companies will not just be paying lip service to guidelines, but will have advanced CSR policies fully integrated into their overall strategy.

The implications of Dr Visser’s prediction that “Generally Accepted Sustainability Practices” will be agreed upon – and a set of CSR rating bodies will emerge – are, in my opinion, worth exploring further.

If this prediction is accurate, corporations are going to face two choices: acting or reacting. Companies will have to undergo change or else face having change thrust upon them.

It clearly makes sense in this instance to make the first move – businesses should look to ensure they are acting responsibly of their own accord, rather than be forced to take the same steps anyway as a result of bad press or regulatory enforcement.

There are various ways to demonstrate a genuine and deep commitment to CSR – whether it’s encouraging employees to cycle to work, introducing schemes to cut carbon emissions or setting up internal green teams within the company.

One approach I find effectively encourages my company to hold itself to account in this area is by publishing our recycling figures each quarter.

We know that CSR can’t succeed as a presentational add-on – it needs to be fully integrated into the core of a business. Furthermore, as well as benefiting the planet, there’s a clear business case for commitment to CSR, including improved employee morale as well as enhanced reputation among external stakeholders.

It makes sense for companies to realise these benefits by acting now – rather than be forced to act in the future.

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