Organisation: Business in the Community
Issue: Corporate social responsibility
From ethical sourcing and environmental audits to sponsoring educational programmes in schools and involvement with charitable causes, companies are inc-reasingly recognising the necessity of corporate social responsibility.
www.business-impact.org is the first time that an organisation has attempted to provide a means to measure the impact of corporate social responsibility.
Last week Business in the Community (BITC) introduced guidelines to measure and manage the impact that this can have on a business. The report, conducted by its Business Impact Taskforce, is called 'Impact on Society'.
The BITC web site's (www.bitc.org.uk) home page is plastered with notices of the announcement at the CBI conference of the report. For instance, the user can view the text of BITC chairman Peter Davis' speech on the launch of the report.
Davis states that 'there is growing level of expectation on business by a variety of interested groups, from customers and shareholders through to local communities and regulators' and there is a link to the Business Impact web site.
The Impact on Society home page summarises the report and provides the user with a link to view it in full (www.-business-impact.org).
The site is massive. It is divided up into four categories: 'topics', 'resource bank', 'taskforce', 'newsdesk' and 'utilities'.
'Topics' covers all aspects of corporate social responsibility, such as the 'workforce', 'marketplace' and 'environment'. Each section gives an outline of that particular area of responsibility, why it is of particular importance, and how to put it into action, with a checklist of 'process indicators'.
The 'taskforce' section includes a self-assessment questionnaire, which asks questions such as 'Has the company appointed a senior member with responsibility for the following areas?' and then lists the particular areas of responsibility.
The 'resource bank' section provides the user with a 'starter pack', 'case studies', 'research', an A-Z of contacts and 'the big picture', which provides an overview of business impact. The A-Z is a directory of useful contacts under headings of the areas of corporate social responsibility. The 'starter pack' includes a downloadable Excel checklist.
The 'newsdesk' has a section for current news and an archive, with stories posted under different subject areas. For example, under the 'workforce' category there is a story titled 'Marks and Spencer wins employer prize'.
Despite its size, the site is easily navigable. Business Impact is a very thoroughly researched business tool which could be very useful in helping businesses to assess and improve the impact of corporate social responsibility.