Corporate Social Responsibility is not just for the “Big Boys”

24th January 2013   |   Jamie Barrett   |   Reading Time: 3 minutes

You could be fooled for believing that Corporate Social Responsibility is reserved for large corporations but this is simply not true. The real essence of CSR is the commitment of a company to behave ethically, enhance customer/client value and improve the quality of life for its employees, its community and the world.

Without realising it many SME’s are already actively engaged in CSR whether planned or unplanned. Here are a few things you could do that may help your CSR strategy:

1.         Give to charity

“A man’s true wealth is the good he does in this world.”1

Giving to charity is an excellent way to kick-start your CSR campaign by helping those less fortunate. You should carefully consider who you give to and why. If there is a certain charitable organisation that aligns with your values or there is an emotional link, then perhaps it is right charity to give to. Make your decision wisely and avoid over-promotion and distastefulness – remember why you are giving in the first place!

You could organise a fundraising event, sponsorship event (something that pushes your boundaries), office collection (dress-down day or swear box) or simply commit a percentage of the company’s profits to its chosen organisation.

2.         Engage with local schools, colleges and universities

There are many ways in which businesses can support their local schools, colleges and universities. These educational establishments need help from the business community when it comes to pupil and student careers. Giving a careers presentation, attending a careers evening or enrolling on work experience programme are all beneficial ways in which businesses can help.

Colleges and universities also run programmes where they place students into the workplace to complete an assignment as part of their course. The experience can prove beneficial to the student, college/university and business.

3.         Support local community events and programmes

We want to be a good neighbour in all the communities in which we operate”.2

Getting involved with the local community can be both fun and rewarding. Here a few ideas to get started:

  • Set up a stall at a local fete or show;
  • Support community projects;
  • Make a donation towards the lights and decorations at Christmas;
  • Promote local events.

4.         Volunteering

Volunteering is great way for your employees to have fun and contribute. Giving employees time off work to support local charities and the community through money collecting, mentoring, imparting knowledge and expertise to those in need or simply getting involved in community projects is a great contributor to your CSR strategy.

5.         Recycle

We should all be doing it but are we? Make sure as a minimum your business is minimising waste and recycling as much as possible. In the office environment consider the following:

  • Recycling paper;
  • Recycling glass and plastics;
  • Recycle electronics;
  • Recycle toner cartridges.

6.         Reduce energy usage

You can make your workplace substantially more energy efficient by making these small changes:

  • Switch to high-rate appliances;
  • Regularly service plant and fit switches and timers;
  • Install water-saving taps;
  • Fit high efficiency light fittings;
  • Turn off equipment at the end of the day and not leave on standby;
  • Turn off all lights at the end of the day and consider absence/presence detection.


CSR is as valuable for small companies as it is for the larger corporations. It need not be expensive and should always be within your capabilities so commitments can be upheld.  This article does not cover all the components of CSR and customer/client value adding, partnering and good working relationships with suppliers, legal and economic considerations should also comprise the strategy.

Remember CSR is the right thing to do and a long-term strategy that enhances your value to employees, customers/clients, the community and the world.





1 – Muhammad (570 – 632 CE)

2 – Tesco