Corporate Social Responsibility


‘We never use the phrase Corporate Social Responsibility, or the initials CSR at Ringtons.’ said Richard from the Newcastle based tea and beverages company. ‘It sounds too much like a crime. Instead we focus on our business doing good things in the community.’

I was at Muckle LLP for a breakfast event as part of the GeNErosity Festival 2018, a festival of philanthropy and giving. It was one of 30 similar events across the region during November. Richard’s comments set the tone for the session. I had never realised how many businesses were involved in supporting community initiatives in the North East.

The reason for my attendance was threefold. Firstly I was with a client who is interested in developing their own CSR approach, should they choose to use those initials. Secondly, having run CyberFest in September I was interested to see if there were any lessons I could learn for next year. Thirdly was a genuine interest in the relationship between businesses and their communities.

I have long believed that a business has three responsibilities: to its shareholders; to its employees; to its community. I know I haven’t mentioned customers though this is a given. There is no business without a customer. Richard, from Greggs his time, the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom, summed it up nicely. Happy staff – happy customers – happy investors. Indeed the company takes the approach that business sustainability comes through social responsibility. It is not a nice to have, it is an important part of their work.

I should add that I consider responsibility to the environment falls within community.

My client found it useful, as did I. He told me he had never written so much at a breakfast event. I learned a bit more about how to put on a series of events but what did I learn about philanthropy?

This, you should:

  • ensure that senior people show that they are committed to the process
  • support causes that people in your business care about
  • shape what you do by doing what you do best
  • match interests and skills, focusing on what talent you have
  • communicate what we are trying to do
  • ensure volunteering work is to the same standard as paid work
  • involve your supply chain.

It was a great event and I got to say hello to a few new people.

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