A responsible growth strategy

Online since 5.09.2017 • Filed under Corporate Social Investment • From Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 page(s) 22
A responsible growth strategy

Not only consumers but all stakeholders want to know what businesses are doing to be socially and environmentally responsible. This influencing factor has the potential to build or break down your reputation and, therefore, having an authentic corporate social investment (CSI) initiative is key to sustainable growth in any organisation.

The latest King IV report, launched at the end of 2016 by the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA), aims to reinforce principles of good corporate governance, ethical leadership, and sustainable development, and discusses a ‘changed world’. An influencing drive for the change in corporate governance is climate change and the environmental impacts that affect people. The quality of the environment and the resources it offers directly influence the quality of life of the people living there. Also part of society are businesses, which are in the advantageous position of being able to positively influence change that addresses social and environmental issues. ‘CSI purely as a marketing attempt is not a good strategy. It is imperative to have an ongoing investment towards positive change,’ notes Chris Bischoff, research and sustainability specialist at Reputation Matters.

In this day and age, your average consumer is much more tuned in to specific environmental and social issues. Mentioned in King IV, social media (specifically Facebook and Twitter), is creating a world of radical transparency, especially when it comes to being transparent about environmental performance. More and more institutions and businesses are getting caught out, especially on social media, for not ‘walking their environmental talk’. This is known as ‘greenwashing’ – saying that you have a responsibility towards reducing your environmental impact when business decisions and actions suggest otherwise.

This is why it is so important to have an authentic approach to your CSI initiatives. ‘Not only does it pay dividends for the environment and society’s wellbeing, but having an authentic commitment to environmental and social responsibility makes business sense. You open the opportunity of becoming a strategic alliance. Our research shows that people and businesses want to be involved with other organisations that are socially and environmentally responsible,’ Bischoff adds.

CSI is a two-way investment. In one sense, it means investing in the upliftment of a society and, in another, investing in that area of business that contributes to your corporate reputation. Having well thought out CSI initiatives aligned to your organisation’s vision and values encourages employees to embody this responsibility and, most likely, taking this culture home from work. If you would like to know what people think about your corporate social and environmental responsibility, read more about Reputation Matters’ Sustainability Check, a research tool that provides insight into stakeholders’ perceptions of your social and environmental responsibility. For more information, visit www.reputationmatters.co.za.

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

This article was featured on page 22 of SABI Magazine Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 .

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