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CSR – Why and what's in it for me?

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

New Guide to CSR for Small & Medium Businesses

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Twitter yet again demonstrates its power to unearth a nugget of information.

I found a link to a launch of a new CSR guide for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Anybody or anything that grasps the Corporate Social Responsibility for smaller businesses nettle gets kudos from me.

I’ve got to say overall it is not bad at all. The information is accessible to the audience it’s trying to reach, i.e. owner / managers and employees, and it’s presented in a style that is easy on the eye.

The information contained is deep enough for a complete novice and also those who have done some homework on Google. Each individual thematic area takes a very  similar approach to ours at Coethica by offering a 3 stage roadmap of initial quick wins, medium term opportunities and longer term challenges to get businesses on board whilst encouraging them to delve deeper and invest further time and resource. Read the rest of this entry »

Not a Premier League CSR Report

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This is a very public challenge to the football industry.

Premier League logoWho will be the first professional football club to produce a credible non-financial report? I’m hoping to use this post to appeal to the intensely competitive nature of sport to raise the Corporate Social Responsibility / Sustainability bar to the dizzy heights of mediocrity.

‘High, wide and handsome’ is a cliché used by football commentators to eloquently describe a very badly executed shot at goal and its resultant trajectory, obviously missing by a substantial margin. It just so happens it describes football’s attempts at CSR and reporting. Read the rest of this entry »

Coethica’s new CSR training, mentoring and SME Academy

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Apologies for the infrequent posting but the epic scale plate-spinning behind the scenes is beginning to bear fruit!

Globe and book pictureAnd here’s a taster of things to come…

…Warning! – This is an unashamed but humble request for critical feedback.

Back at the day job at Coethica were close to formally launching Coethica Training,  a new suite of Corporate Social Responsibility training and mentoring services and me being the perfectionist that I am, I’d appreciate any brutally honest opinion by those inclined to comment. Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft’s CSR Accelerator Summit

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Steve Ballmer at Microsoft Accelerator Summit

It’s easy to forget just how pervasive Microsoft’s reach is from Xbox to Office or their effect on everybody’s lives over the past 35 years.

Ok, they may have lost market value top dog status to Apple, market share in the internet browser sector or have harbingers of doom awaiting the monster to fall as the Cloud approaches, but with competition such as Google acting like a righteous teenager, Facebook playing like a petulant child and Apple’s aspirations heading toward megalomania with their use of applications to control content, Microsoft could be said to be enjoying a somewhat more mature appearance by comparison of late, and that might just be their hidden weapon. Read the rest of this entry »

What does Microsoft do around CSR?

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Photo: tabacco.blog-city.com

This is the week I’ll be releasing my inner tech geek. Ever since owning the original Sinclair ZX81, which I still have in a box in the attic, I’ve been fascinated with the opportunities that technology can provide. I’m not saying I’m a fan of technology for technology’s sake, but I am passionate about the uniquely human ability for technological creativity when aligned with real flesh and bone people and the way they actually behave.

I’ve been invited to attend Microsoft’s  Corporate Citizenship Accelerator Summit in Seattle on Thursday and then decided to stop in New York on the way back to meet the 3BL Media crew in the non-Twitter real world. Read the rest of this entry »

What would you ask John Amaechi?

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Next week I’m interviewing ex-NBA star John Amaechi for 3BL TV on his views of CSR & sport and I though it’d be fun to crowd source some questions or topics to put to him.

For those who don’t know who he is, here’s a brief introduction:

John Amaechi is a psychologist, New York Times best-selling Author and social entrepreneur working in both the US and the Europe. His work is mostly in industrial/organisational settings with medium to large institutions: business, educational and philanthropic, to help them maximise their human capital.

Oh, and he played more than a little basketball too. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media CSR Tips for Small Businesses

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The next couple of years are going to get interesting. Technology is continuing to offer ever inspiring ways of sharing information, especially video; CSR is reinforcing its mainstream foothold and smaller businesses are the incubators of tomorrow’s leaders, innovators and the next Google is in a bedroom, garage or somebody’s head somewhere!

For smaller businesses social networks and social media can provide ideal platforms for getting more from your CSR efforts.

Heres a few tips to get the most from your online opportunities: Read the rest of this entry »

Spotlight on Africa: Coaching for Conservation

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March has definitely been a month of sport around these parts. Meetings at a Premier League club, Sport and Social Responsibility Summit, Beyond Sport application deadline extensions and most importantly I actually made time to start running again!

I recently wrote a post about a great UK based social enterprise I’m involved with called Kick 4 Change and how they are engaging in proceedings for the forthcoming World Cup in South Africa.

Today I want to take a quick look at a grassroots sport project engaging local communities in Africa itself, in Botswana to be more specific. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s not about the ball

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Ok, just in case you didn’t know I’ll make my position very clear right from the start. Sport and Corporate Social Responsibility aren’t well acquainted, and I’m feeling generously polite today.

Don’t get me wrong both the quantity and quality of aspects of sporting community engagement can be fantastic, but after a day at the Cass Business School sponsored Sport and Social Responsibility Summit I was left reminded yet again of the tunnel vision that many sport related organisations use when considering the wider Corporate Social Responsibility spectrum. Read the rest of this entry »

Viva la Small Business CSR!

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Photo Credit: Warren Smith / PA Wire


Following on from the recent post on 5 Reasons Against CSR from Smaller Businesses I thought it would make sense to explore the main examples of great initiatives that countless smaller businesses actively deliver without knowing it’s part of a bigger better business picture. 

As a consultant I have the ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ mantra ringing in my ears day and night. If I’m completely honest I don’t completely accept that, especially for smaller businesses. Sometimes you know it’s working and can spend excessive resource measuring and administering. Yes, there will come a time when measurement is essential but with grassroots entrepreneurs over management can kill stone dead any energy or innovation. 

Anyway, here’s the 5 most common ‘unknown’ CSR activities within SMEs: 


Sponsoring a children’s sport club 

Especially in my home city of Liverpool football is almost a religion to some and junior football is literally everywhere. Usually small businesses connected via family members or friends of the children are responsible for sponsoring team kits and equipment. I use the term ‘sponsor’ with some licence. In many cases it is a donation rather than getting anywhere near a return on investment expectation, but sponsorship is what it should be called. 

Providing flexible hours for employees to manage care issues 

Even if it’s allowing an employee to come in fifteen minutes late or leave early to collect a child from school that’s still flexible working. Whilst SMEs are unaware of the complete range of flexible working options available, most will informally offer one or two variations to look after their employees. 

Recycling / Energy saving 

Environmental issues are pushing the CSR agenda forward and there can’t be many small businesses remaining that are either forced through legislation or a desire to reduce costs. There are countless support mechanisms to assist SMEs in with ever improving services but nearly everybody know recycles paper or is trying to save fuel / energy. 

Using local suppliers 

Encouraging businesses to use local suppliers campaigns have been around for ever. In the UK the Federation of Small Business (FSB) are pro-actively promoting their ‘Keep Trade Local’ manifesto. You could almost replace ‘Keep it Local’ with a the grander sounding ‘sustainable procurement’ as the two are much closer than fee charging supply chain consultants would have you believe; reduced road miles, supporting local economies, improved supplier relationships. 

Charity Fundraising Events 

Do you know a business that hasn’t help raise money for a good cause? Cash donations, fundraising balls, themed work days, Santa Dash, sponsored sit in a bath of custard / head shave. Most SMEs approach good causes as an act of pure philanthropy offering cash or in-kind support without expectation of return and there’s nothing too wrong with that at all. 

An extended list could also easily include employee training, supporting local schools, employing local people, etc. etc, but you should be getting the picture by now. 

These five highlighted areas are wonderful examples of instinctive CSR / good business / philanthropy that demonstrates the local understanding and willingness by owner / managers to allow business resources to be diverted away from core business objectives because they feel it’s the right thing to do.  

Smaller business are a furnace of raw, energetic, well meaning and often creative CSR activity that often goes overlooked. Imagine for a moment the possibilities with just a little more coordination, strategic thought, active communication and improved specialist support. We could see  numerous small initiatives multiplied across the millions of SMEs internationally to provide a world changing combined overall impact – viva la small business CSR! 


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