CSR minister to promote ‘responsible business’

Brighton: Leading proponents of CSR this week gave a cautious welcome to the announcement of Nigel Griffiths as the new CSR minister and called on him to promote responsible business across other parts of his brief.

Giles Gibbons, co-founder of CSR consultancy Good Business, said he should make responsible business practice the cornerstone of his brief as energy minister.

Business in the Community development director Mallon Baker called for ‘overlap’ between CSR and his other newly inherited brief of consumer affairs.

Previously small business minister, Griffiths took on the CSR brief at the DTI in mid-September from Stephen Timms.

It is believed that Griffiths is keen to underplay the ‘social’ element of CSR and focus more on selling the concept to businesses rather as ‘corporate responsibility’.

While the DTI declined to comment on this, Baker welcomed such an approach: ‘To a number of people, the term CSR suggests just something about community involvement. We prefer to refer to it as responsible business.’

At a Bupa-sponsored Social Market Foundation fringe meeting in Brighton this week, Bupa head of community affairs Monica Owen called for the Department for Education and Skills to spearhead a campaign to encourage more employee volunteering schemes.

Christian Aid head of trade policy Andrew Pendleton said the Government should bring in more regulation to get firms to prove their CSR credentials: ‘There is nothing to show that voluntary initiatives are powerful enough to bring change.’

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