By John Catling, chief executive of FMG
With 75% of FTSE 350 companies devoting whole sections of their annual report and accounts to it, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is gaining more and more traction in our corporate world.
However, some companies see it as an unwelcome box ticking exercise.
The truth is, the companies looking to carry out CSR activities simply to gain press coverage or to tick a box, can be spotted a mile off.
CSR isn’t rocket science. It’s simple really: having a social conscience usually makes good business sense.
The first responsibility of a business is to make a profit, and companies shouldn’t be embarrassed or apologetic about that.
Indeed, it can be said that making a profit is integral to your CSR ambitions.
Without that base, its virtually impossible to build the business, employ more people and make a real difference to your customers, stakeholders and the community at large.
From a starting point of a profitable business, the jigsaw pieces of the CSR puzzle can start to fit into place.
Fleet is undeniably an important factor in a company’s CSR policy, whether it’s about environmental commitments, employee welfare or wider community impact.
The smart businesses have recognised that CSR is a necessary mix of image improvement and good business.
One criticism sometimes levelled at CSR as a concept, is that it largely involves intangible assets, or immeasurable factors.
This is where Fleet differs.
There are now more ways than ever to ensure your fleet runs responsibly, and the best thing about it is, in many cases, implementing these changes will save your business money.
By way of example, one FMG client has reduced fuel spend by 20% across the fleet, and correspondingly, CO2 emissions have fallen.
Smarter use of technology and measurement of data can also measure incident reduction rates and correlate these to your policies and actions.
It’s easy to see how CSR can seem daunting to some companies, especially smaller or medium size businesses.
We all know the pressures facing companies at the minute, and for many decision makers, there are 101 things on the to-do list ahead of CSR.
Especially so when it comes attached to a preconception of expensive and time-consuming activity such as report writing. In the main, CSR boils down to doing what’s right for business.
Rather than viewing CSR as an afterthought, or a ‘nice to have’, it’s worth turning it on its head.
If you look at CSR as one of the pillars that your business stands on, it becomes much easier to justify its importance to good business.
In many cases, these are all things we, as companies, are doing anyway.
The challenge is to focus on them and ensure we’re doing them well.