08 Dec 2023

How businesses can make a difference with ESG/CSR programmes

Organisations bang on about their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes all the time. They have policies that claim they go beyond traditional profit-focussed goals and contribute sustainable and responsible business practices.  But what does that actually mean? And how can businesses really make a difference?

As ESG suggests, these policies can look like environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and innovation for social good.  As a social enterprise, our production trainee scheme offers training and employment opportunities. We are also proud to offer the real living wage for the real cost of living.

We are currently employing a Production Trainee to develop, create, shoot, and edit content for Rethink Mental Illness’  new TikTok channel, aiming to reach people with mental illness and challenge stereotypes surrounding mental health, and buoyed on the success, are rolling this out with ThriveLDN.

So how can businesses make a difference?

Social procurement

One of the easiest ways large companies can further their ESG goals is to look at the supply chain, and spend their money with ethically focused organisations. Instead of solely focusing on price and quality, social enterprises prioritise suppliers and products that contribute to positive social outcomes.

They consider traditional factors such as cost, with broader impacts that procurement decisions can have on society. This may be creating jobs for marginalised groups or supporting environmentally sustainable practices. It’s a way for businesses and governments to use their purchasing power to make a positive impact on society.

Social procurement can be a powerful tool for organisations to leverage their purchasing power to address social and environmental challenges and contribute to the overall well-being of the communities they operate in.

Walk the talk

ESG provides a holistic view of a company’s commitment to responsible and ethical business practices that go beyond financial performance.

The “E” (Environment) looks at a company’s stance on issues like climate change, resource and sustainability. The “S” (Social) assesses the company’s relationships with people, encompassing factors such as labour practices and diversity. Lastly, the “G” (Governance) examines the company’s leadership, internal controls, and overall organisational structure.

It reflects the growing recognition that environmental, social, and governance factors are integral to long-term business success – partly because we can’t operate in a vacuum..

So when it comes to that G, what are you doing that reflects a responsible approach. Are there opportunities for people to get involved in social impact projects? Do you recycle? Do you encourage a diverse supply chain? Make it easy for everyone in your business to make a difference.

Talk about it

But don’t greenwash. Brands and businesses influence culture, economy, and consumer behaviour. By recognising this influence, businesses have the opportunity and responsibility to leverage their power for positive societal impact.

Make ESG practices part of your communications. Leverage your voice to make a difference. Shout about what you’re doing and encourage others to do the same. It makes sense, as doing so, you not only contribute to positive societal change but also enhance your own long-term success by building trust and loyalty among consumers and stakeholders.

With effective ESG and CSR programmes, businesses can contribute to positive social and environmental outcomes while building a reputation as responsible corporate citizens. They can make a difference in the world in which they operate. And build a successful business alongside a successful society where everyone flourishes.