How to make your business socially useful: Critical Eye Insight

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Information about How to make your business socially useful: Critical Eye Insight

Published on January 5, 2010

Author: ronhepburn



So you’ve set up a charities committee, you’re matching donations made by staff, you’ve completed an overhaul of your least sustainable behaviours. Well done! Boxes ticked. All that remains is the scribing of a brilliant CSR report and you can get on with making money.
Right? Surely nothing is that simple.

CSR it’s not just a box to tick By Ronald Hepburn So you’ve set up a charities committee, be no fixed-term mortgages, the price of These are all very practical and easily you’re matching donations made by bread would fluctuate dramatically and loans understood explanations. And unlike staff, you’ve completed an overhaul of would dry up entirely – which, in effect, is those activities that find their way into your least sustainable behaviours. Well what has happened. These are socially useful CSR reports, the above are fundamental done! Boxes ticked. All that remains is activities, if only the institutions involved to the wellbeing of society and business. the scribing of a brilliant CSR report in providing them had the words and the and you can get on with making money. wherewithal to describe them as such. This concluSion: Right? Surely nothing is that simple. could give new purpose and meaning to their employees and more clarity to their Well, if you don’t want to be seen as simply It is clear from the backlash against the customers - not in terms of basis points going through the motions, and if you City and Wall Street by everyone from or v-shaped bounces, but in human terms want to avoid the damning descriptor of Joe Public to Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, that the cleaners might understand. “socially useless”, then you need to take chairman of the Financial Services a careful look at your business’ purpose. Authority, that bankers’ contribution to Some quick SuggeStionS for Make it clear and in plain English and put society is not valued, despite laudable Socially uSeful buSineSSeS: it at the top of your business plan, before CSR reports and charitable donations. your mission vision and values, so that • Retail bank – we make sure that people’s we can all see that you add some value to Do you think people can tell when you are money is safe, accessible and help them society. You’ll be amazed at how much more just ticking boxes? Well of course they can. by lending money when they need it or engaged your staff and customers are when by making their savings make money they see the social point of what you do. Lord Turner presumably felt that his portrayal And it might just prevent politicians and of bankers as “socially useless” was safe • Derivatives specialist – we find ways regulators from making ill-judged attacks ground from which to assault banking bonus to iron out the peaks and troughs in on the fundamentals of your businesses. culture. Why should he feel that? What have markets so that businesses such as banks forgotten to do which could have farmers and manufacturers can plan © Criticaleye 2009 saved them from some of these accusations? their budgeting more effectively Corporate social responsibility, as the • Insurance companies – when something Ronald Hepburn name implies, is about the corporation as unexpected happens that could cause Managing Partner, a socially responsible citizen. It’s about you real loss or hardship, we are there Haggie Hepburn being a fully-fledged member of society to make sure you are covered and making a proper contribution. What Ronald founded Haggie Hepburn, a strategic banks and brokers and the wholesale and • Asset managers – we help you spread communications business in 2004 and has retail financial services businesses have the risk of investment and provide since led strategic projects and campaigns for failed to do is explain why they are vital to expert advice on where your money is the British Chambers of Commerce, Danone, the smooth running of the global economy. safest, balanced against likely returns DOHALAND, the European Climate Exchange, There is too much time spent in developing ExxonMobil, NHS Professionals, RasGas, and monetary based visions and values and too • Proprietary derivatives traders – we Tesco Personal Finance. little time spent saying that, for instance, ensure there is always a market in which Contact Ronald through without the derivatives markets there would businesses can trade their investments

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