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What Are The 7 Principles Of Corporate Social Responsibility?

As a business, Corporate Social Responsibility has become an ever-important aspect in your day-to-day operations. CSR refers to a company’s efforts to integrate all of their economic, environmental & social considerations into their business operations. This includes their interactions with stakeholders, including everyone from shareholders to customers. In this blog from Spicers of Hythe we’ll take you through the 7 principles of Corporate Social Responsibility to help you & your business.

ISO 26000 is an international standard, formed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, that provides guidance on social responsibility. While not compulsory, it is considered the most in-depth guidance for effective CSR.

The guidance from ISO was put together in 2010, based on these 7 principles below…

  1. Accountability - Your business should look to be accountable for the impacts of its' activities on the wider society it operates in, as well as the environment. Taking into account any negative impact it should have on these factors, this could well effect future practices. 
    This principle emphasises the importance of transparency and the need for companies to take responsibility for their actions.
  2. Transparency - The CSR policies, activities, and impacts your business undertakes may be considered need-to-know information. You should communicate this information with your stakeholders.
    This principle highlights the importance of open communication and the need for companies to be honest and forthright about their CSR activities. The thought process being that if you're acting in an ethical manner, there should be nothing to hide regarding your day to day operations.
  3. Ethical behaviour - Your business should conduct its business in an ethical and responsible manner, and should uphold high standards of integrity and honesty.
    This principle emphasizes the importance of doing the right thing and treating others with respect and fairness.
  4. Respect for your stakeholder's interests - Your business should take into account the interests of its' stakeholders. This includes your employees, customers, suppliers, communities, and the environment, and should strive to create value for them.
    This principle emphasises the importance of building relationships with your stakeholders that will last and working collaboratively to achieve shared goals.
  5. Respect for the rule of law - Although this may be obvious, your business should comply with applicable laws and regulations, while respecting human rights and labor standards.
    This principle emphasises the importance of following the law and respecting basic human rights.
  6. Respect for international norms - Your business should respect international norms and standards, including those relating to human rights, labor, and the environment. The area you choose to operate within, be sure to respect the area & it's custom.
    This principle emphasises the importance of being a responsible global citizen and following international best practices.
  7. Respect for human rights - Your business should respect human rights, and should not engage in business practices that violate any rights of individuals or groups.
    This principle emphasizes the importance of treating all individuals with dignity and respect, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Implementing these 7 principles of CSR above can have numerous benefits for businesses. By taking responsibility for your social and environmental impacts, you can build trust or credibility with your stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and even the wider community. This can help to improve the company's reputation alongside its' brand image, which can in turn lead to increased customer loyalty, sales, leading to a boost in profits.

In addition, companies that are socially and environmentally responsible are often better equipped to manage risks and seize opportunities. For example, companies that prioritise sustainability have been known to reduce their operating costs by using resources more efficiently. The potential in greener energy has enabled businesses to sell excess energy back to the grid. Also, those that invest in employee development and training may be able to improve productivity and innovation. Not forgetting the additional loyalty that this investment in your staff can deliver. 

Furthermore, companies that are committed to CSR are often more attractive to investors and employees who are looking for opportunities to make a positive impact. By demonstrating your commitment to social and environmental responsibility, you can attract and retain top talent, which can help to drive innovation and growth. With there being more and more factors when it comes to prospective employees looking for a new role, your Corporate Social Responsibility can be a huge factor in attracting the great calibre of staff you desire.

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