Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no longer a question of morals; it’s a question of risk and opportunity. As more organisations look at seamless integration from the ground up we’d like to introduce a solution that will not only embed CSR into business culture, but includes live reporting.
93% of the world’s 250 largest companies publish annual CSR reports
CSR is not a business fad. It is not pointless exercise conducted to silence a vocal minority of your stakeholders. Nor is it marketing tool used to greenwash an organisation’s reputation. With intense focus from all corners, there’s no doubting that CSR is now a real financial benefit for any business.
Take the BP oil crisis – a particularly dramatic example – which has cost BP a total of $53.8billion in claims and settlements, not including the cost to their reputation. Equally, the horse meat scandal wiped £300 million off the market value of Tesco and has lead to increased restrictions on their production process, costing them an extra £2 million each year.
More and more investors accept that environmental and social factors put company value at stake. This leads to the question of what the potential financial impacts of those risks and opportunities could be and what the company is doing to mitigate or maximize them.
In contrast, the benefits of operating a successful CSR campaign have been growing. In a study conducted by Nielsen in 2014, 55% of consumers said they would “pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact”. Sustainability is the key, and the old fashioned approach of keeping short term costs down just doesn’t work anymore. Businesses must consider the long term impact of everything they do: a saving of thousands could cost millions in the future.
Add to this that the EU is currently rolling out a directive which specifically looks at CSR reporting, calling for clearer information from organisations. The introduction of this is estimated to cost large companies between €155,000 to €604,000 and €8,000 to €25,000 for small companies, in the production of the required reports – something likely to be viewed as a disincentive to participation.
Here at Reason Digital, using technology for socially responsible projects is what we do. We knew that we could improve the tracking of CSR activities, reduce the burden (and cost) of producing reports and provide real-time reporting that reduces costs. The result, Impact, is a scaleable CSR tool that takes the reporting out of the hands of just the CSR team and allows every member of staff to be involved, broadening the scope of CSR activities across the whole organisation. With a growing list of integrations you can now track everything from charitable donations to cycling to volunteering your time.
Our latest addition, as seen above, is the live widget. This update allows users of Impact to post animated charts to their website, demonstrating live data on their own ongoing CSR, instantly demonstrating their efforts and achievements. This particular example uses a Google Analytics integration to display the donations being collected via our partners’ websites, automating the impact-tracking process even further.
By decentralising the reporting of CSR we believe organisations will be able to capture much more data on all the fantastic activities their employees are involved in. From our own experiences, this also introduced an element of competition, encouraging further involvement from everyone involved. As I write this post we are discussing competition for third place in our own Impact leaderboard; cycling to work is no longer just a question of environmental impact – it’s about winning (which I am).