When CSR is not CSR.....

Written by J. Crawley on Friday, 26 October 2018

One of my biggest bug bears with clients is when they wrap something up in a marketing wrapper as CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility) that isn't CSR at all.

He is some text taken from the special CSR page of an established business website. The page has unlabeled pictures of groups of children in a third world environment. Now lets see the text that accompanies those pictures. In italics are my comments on the statement.

"Making a Difference

Our business is driven by a passion to make people happy. And that goes beyond our day-to-day work, impacting our approach to business, to the environment and the community around us. "

Nice sentiments, not really any specifics but it sets the scene

"Our Business

Our unique approach to delivering employee services brings together both digital and face to face engagement to provide employees access to their company benefits, discounts, technology and services anytime, anywhere. We believe technology cannot solve the employee engagement problem on its own, so we work with each client to create an employee benefits roll out plan which will increase employee engagement, drive benefits adoption and deliver HR a return on investment. "

This is just a sales pitch for the products of the company, it has absolutely nothing to do with CSR

"Our Community

Our core value proposition as a business is that when people feel like they make a difference, they do. This goes for our customer’s employees as well as our own. We aim to empower employees to make a difference in all aspects of life – at work, in their local communities and across the wider world. We work closely with local charities, educational institutes and non-profit organisations."

What does this even mean? To me it sounds like your clients employees are the ones who are actually "doing" CSR? If you are going to say you do something, then actually name it and the difference you have made, otherwise its meaningless.

Do you see the issue I have with the whole page? Its basically a marketing page for the companies products. Given this organisations product set, I have to say that worries me.

CSR must be three things above all else:

Relevant - If you make sanitary products maybe your CSR should be focused on solving Sanitary poverty issues

Real - Don't just talk about it , do it and demonstrate real results

Realistic - Do something achievable where you can demonstrate a real difference through actions.

CSR has moved on this past two decades and today's workforce look at companies in a very different light when choosing where to work. Only the best companies will get the best people and therefore the best product. Pay lip service to your CSR at your peril.