Corporate Social Responsibility...

I was made aware of CSR around 10 years ago.  I didn’t really ‘buy into’ the ethos at the time, thinking of it as just another box to tick in the whole PQQ/Tender phase. I viewed it as something set up by the ‘big boys’ marketing departments as a policy no one else will have, or can implement, inserted into the complex point scoring systems of Pre Qualifying Questionnaires, designed to shift even more public contracts away from SME’s.

I viewed it as a policy that would exist in wording alone, never implemented into the the core of a business model. Its design was only to smokescreen into making the bigger companies look even more ‘Mother Therresa’ like, with the reality of them being more ‘Fagin’ aligned.

A CSR has a broad meaning across the business world. Implementing a rock solid risk management system into a companies procedures can be classed as being a CSR.  It can be argued that a robust human resources strategy can be core to CSR policy due to retention of staff and training. But these are all things the larger companies do anyway and again, i question if the ‘box ticking’ antics of the larger company is actually ethical.

Recently a well known high street burger bar chain was condemned for ‘slave labour’ practices – taking on young apprentices to work for virtually nothing, offering little training, except on how to operate within the four walls they were placed more efficiently. Training  that is of little use elsewhere in the business world.   This procedure was also discovered in one of the UK’s major grocery chains. Both companies have, on paper, comprehensive CSR policies.

Just over 4 years ago RCS implemented a corporate social responsibility policy. We set out from day one to show our belief that the two main components in a quality CSR are people and the environment. Not just the people who work for RCS, but all people. By incorporating the ‘Eco Cleaning Standard’ ethos into a CSR policy, we recognised that we already had many of the building blocks to create an achievable CSR policy, that has been implemented (unlike some other companies out there!) into the day to day running of our operations.

Is it successful? Have we had a positive impact on the environment? Who knows. One thing we do know; when it comes to doing ‘our bit’, our heads are held very high!

By Ian Reynolds