We are often asked by our clients to assist with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

CSR is a fairly recent concept, described here by the Financial Times: Movement aimed at encouraging companies to be more aware of the impact of their business on the rest of society, including their own stakeholders and the environment.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders.

It can be a duplicitous beast and some cynicism exists about the motivating forces behind many CSR strategies. For some it is an effective way to encourage and establish meaningful agendas that can support a workforce and community for generations to come; for others it is little more than a photo opportunity. A successful CSR initiative will have maximum positive impact on a maximum number of people, have long term goals and offer quantifiable results over time. Benefit to the wider community must be the primary consideration. In some cases a happy symbiosis will occur over time and this can only add to the future health of the programme but profit to the organisation should always be a secondary interest.

With those criteria in mind, let your imagination run wild! Smallholding schemes, NGO partnerships, training centre establishment, craft industry, social outreach, funding for relevant skills training – there are quite literally no boundaries. Some have high setup costs but will become self-sufficient over time; others will need regular, ongoing investment. You can create a programme to perfectly suit your organisation, one that reflects your priorities and values, one which will inspire pride amongst your workforce and honour amongst your shareholders.

Many organisations are keen to rationalise their CSR strategy so conduct thorough and objective reviews of their work. In 2015 Omran commissioned just such a report which Lamahat designed. It used quantitative and qualitative data to identify success and weakness throughout their CSR operations.

Forbes publish an annual list of organisations with the best CSR records http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2016/09/15/the-companies-with-the-best-csr-reputations-in-the-world-in-2016/#5e62bf5c7b83