Charity – so the saying goes – begins at home. It’s particularly apt in the context of corporate responsibility, and many companies would do well to bear it in mind.
All too often, I see businesses proudly boasting about their charitable giving and other social investments, but saying zilch about how CR values are embedded in their own organisations and supply chains. Is it any wonder so many people dismiss CR as window-dressing?
The separation of diversity and CR in corporate communications – as if they were two completely different agendas – is another classic. Surely it’s common sense that one is a critical part of the other?
I realise this is starting to sound like a bit of rant, but the point is so basic, it’s difficult not to get all wound-up and “Basil Fawlty” about it.
Bridging the trust gap with sceptical consumers means starting on your own doorstep. It matters not a jot what percentage of your profits go to charity, or how you offset your carbon emissions, if you don’t first demonstrate fairness and responsibility in the way you treat employees, customers and suppliers.
Fail to recognise this point, and you risk labelling your high-profile investments as simply tactical and a bolt-on, rather than strategic and integral to your business.
(Ah, that’s better! I’ll get down off my soap box now.)