Minister urges business to reap benefits of CSR

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Stephen Timms, the new minister for corporate social responsibility explainsto Ross Wigham why employers should be taking the the initiative and buildinglinks with the communityWhy did the Government produce a CSR strategy? “It’s increasingly clear that corporate engagement in some of the big problemsthat government is addressing, like regeneration in disadvantaged areas,raising standards in schools and environmental issues, can be a reallysignificant part of the solution. “When I was leader of Newham Council we set up the East London Partnershipand all kinds of very useful relationships were formed. It helped raisestandards and regenerate a deprived part of East London. “The document sets out what we’re proposing and it is the second reporton CSR. It draws attention to some areas where a strong contribution can bemade by employers. Will the Government look to form CSR legislation? “The thing about this whole area is we don’t control the levers, and inmy view it’s the voluntary nature of CSR that is it’s strength. There are callsfor a more regulatory approach where organisations would be compelled in someway, but that’s the completely wrong way to approach this. It would be a realdead hand on the innovation, creativity and imagination now coming out of thebig corporations. “We’ve not set any quantitative targets but we’ve set a direction – wewant to encourage organisations and there’s no shortage of willingness. We wantto work with people to make the most of CSR. “I think regulation by and large isn’t the way to build on what we’reseeing at the moment.” Would you support European legislation to encourage greater CSR? “We need to keep very close to what’s happening in Europe because theEuropean Commission will be publishing a CSR communication document this month.There’s growing interest at the European level and in policy terms there’s asignificant engagement with the thinking in Europe. We want to encourage Europenot to go down the regulatory route and take the approach that we’ve taken inthe UK which has been very successful. “I think the situation varies in different countries and theassumptions are different. In terms of thinking in Brussels our experience hasbeen very influential. I think regulation would be very, very counterproductive and that’s a point we’ve made strongly. What sort of guidance or incentive is offered to employers? “There is a huge amount of interest in CSR because in terms of buildingbrand loyalty, increasing employee motivation and getting a good reputationamong stakeholders this kind of activity it very effective. “It’s very important that people see the benefits of CSR as beinglinked to the mainstream objectives of the organisation because that way it’will be sustainable. “We don’t want CSR to be completely dependent on altruism. We’d like itto come out of an enlightened understanding of what the organisation is tryingto achieve. How big is the current contribution to CSR from business? “We’ve estimated around £3.5bn. There are increasing numbers ofcompanies taking an active interest. We welcome that and we want to work withit. I’d like to see a higher level of participation and I think we’re at anearly stage in seeing the benefits of CSR. How can HR teams become stakeholders in local communities and amongstaff? “By building relationships between employers and local organisations,voluntary bodies and sector organisations. They should also give staff theopportunity to get involved in schools and the community.” What’s the next challenge for CSR? “I think to scale up from what we’ve achieved already is a bigchallenge. We also have to maintain the sense of engagement with business. I’mkeen to talk to those with ideas about CSR to see how we can take it forward.This is a very important area in achieving our social and economic aims.” Minister urges business to reap benefits of CSROn 2 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more