Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be your fuel for growth!

November 5th, 2009

Although CSR certainly has an environmental focus

CSR is subject to a lot of debate as to whether there it has a strong business case. This author and many others argue that corporations benefit in multiple ways by operating with a broader perspective that will produce longer term benefits than their immediate, short-term profits. Others continue to argue that CSR distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses.

In support of a well established CSR program, a 2008 study indicated that twenty six (26) percent of consumers indicated they planned to be consciously greener during the next year. Thirty four (34) percent indicated they would even be willing to pay more for it. These numbers continue to trend upward.

While many continue to minimize the impact of a well thought out CSR program, successful companies are building and measuring the impact of these programs with an increased focus on energy, waste, construction, carbon footprint, products, charitable giving, community action, food safety and the intersection of all of these components on their enterprise consituatants.

At the center of a good CSR program, is the ability to hold suppliers and other trading partners accountable to the same standards a company has set for itself. This however can not come at additional cost. As such, procurement solution providers play a huge part in ensuring that the following listed items are not only part of a well constructed CSR program, but are also included in the CSR programs or initiatives of your incumbent suppliers and potential new sources of supply. The following questions then become a good cross reference point as to what should be in your CSR program as well as that of your collaborating business partners.

1. What percentages of the products you carry are green or have undergone reformulation to make them more environmentally friendly?
2. Are you using reusable bags as a way to defer plastics from our landfills?
3. What are your utility reduction plans?
4. Do you have an energy reclamation plan?
5. Do you have a renewable energy program?
6. How are you or your suppliers making your fleets more efficient?
7. Are your new construction projects LEED certified?
8. What are your outbound or community education plans?
9. What community programs do you support?
10. What is your charitable giving program?
11. Do you have a CSR committee?
12. What are your product recall procedures?
13. How do you support product traceability?
14. What are your plans to protect your customers from food born illness?
15. Do you have a company certification cross reference map in place?

Ask your solution provider how they can assist you with this process.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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