What is Corporate Social Responsibility and why does it matter?

Doing ‘the right thing’ for your employees, the community and the environment is something that is something that should be an important element of your business strategy. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is proven not only to attract and retain employees, but can also increase the market value of a company by up to 6%.

CSR is driven by consumers who are choosing to buy from organisations they consider to be ethical and responsible. 68% of people believe that businesses, governments and non-profit organisations all need to deliver more social and environmental change.

The numbers are persuasive, as evidenced by the Co-op’s Ethical Consumerism Report which has tracked ethical expenditure for the past two decades. In 1999, the total size of the market was just £11.2bn whereas today it’s conservatively valued at £41.1bn. The average spend on ethical purchases per household has significantly outstripped inflation, growing from £202 a year in 1999 to £1,278 per annum in 2018.

Additionally, employees are becoming more discerning about which organisations they work for, actively looking for companies that operate in an ethical and sustainable way, with 61% of millennials being concerned about the state of the world and feeling a personal responsibility to improve it.

According to John Catling, Chief Executive of incident management specialist FMG, “75% of FTSE 350 companies are devoting whole sections of their annual report and accounts to CSR”, but some organisations are  still making the mistake of simply seeing it as an unwelcome box ticking exercise.

As employees made their way back into the workplace after the spring lockdown, a study of 2,000 UK professionals in July 2020 by Go Ultra Low found that 42% were frustrated by a lack of consideration for the environment in the office and 40% thought that was a result of no one person having responsibility for driving green initiatives in the workplace.

This is supported by a widening focus in employee benefits being purely financial. According to HR Magazine, “the focus of employee benefits has now shifted from financial to health and wellbeing, with employees prioritising their work/life balance, as well as becoming more conscious of the mental and physical toll high-pressure jobs can take.”

So what can you do? There are three main areas of focus: environmental CSR, ethical CSR and philanthropic CSR activities. Put simply, you should be asking:

  • What is your company doing to reduce its environmental impact? Has it planned any environmental CSR activities?
  • What is your company doing to ensure employees and customers are treated fairly?
  • What is your company doing to make society better?

For fleet managers and companies operating car salary sacrifice schemes, this is good news. There are still many organisations not considering the positive effect that providing ultra low and zero emission cars for employees could have on their CSR standing, but providing these green cars through a tax efficient salary sacrifice scheme can make a significant contribution to an organisation’s environmental footprint, and thereby to its CSR profile.

In these uncertain times, salary sacrifice for cars could also reduce anxiety and induce a more positive outlook for many employees – they’ll have a brand new car, with the confidence of knowing that it’s being provided via their employer therefore covered if there are any problems – a welcome relief in these times of furloughing and potential long term effects from Covid-19.

As we slowly get back to a new normal, this could be the ideal time to review your employee benefits policy and consider initiating positive environmental policies such as a green fleet that would boost your CSR green credentials whilst at the same time, give a much-needed boost to the mental health of employees.

Here at Tusker, 70% of our new car orders in 2020 were electric or hybrid. We’re market leaders in this area and are happy to talk to you and your business through the benefits of car salary sacrifice schemes, green fleets and the positive impact for employees and your CSR.

Interested in finding out more?