By Proxima

28 Jun 2019

Too often Corporate Social Responsibility is seen as a passing fad - including by those in the civil service - says Proxima. They ask: will 2019 be a step-change year?

Too often executives have seen Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a passing fad. The Civil Service is no different – Social Value has been on the agenda for a number of years, with varying degrees of success. Will 2019 be a step-change year? We take a brief look at the private sector and specifically retail, to see how changes may relate to public sector.

CSR is now rising up the business agenda. Forces like globalisation, social media, regulation and changing customer habits are elevating its importance. As customers and society more broadly place increasing importance on CSR, some leaders have started to look at it as a creative opportunity to fundamentally strengthen their businesses while contributing to society at the same time.

This changing landscape is now creating a clearer financial motive and new research shows how the most ethical and enlightened companies who are embracing this movement, are consistently outperforming their industry competitors. The research highlights that these organisations enjoy an increased share price of between 4% and 6% and they pay 8x fewer consumer related fines.

The rise of the ethical consumer is changing the way which organisations operate and it’s creating new value opportunities and heightening the risks of doing the wrong thing. So what should a forward thinking CPO be excited and worried about in this new social and environmental age?


New value opportunities

The Ministry of Defence have recently contracted with Future Biogas and EDF, developing a sustainable energy supply for RAF Marham. The base is set to become 95% sustainable with its energy usage, through fermentation of locally grown crops, and in the process saving £300k per annum in electricity costs. The MOD is creating sustainable shared value through investment in their utility contracts, not only benefiting commercially but delivering social value to the wider community.


Heightening risks

For others though, risk is the issue. Ethical and environmental issues have the potential to gain popular traction much more quickly than before. In 2018 alone we shone the spotlight on coffee cups, palm oil and plastics to name a few. Looking forwards to 2019 I believe we will continue to see even more focus on climate change, alternative energy and plastics.


Where does the CPO fit in……?

In an increasingly global marketplace with increasingly complex supply chains, ensuring a mechanism is in place to drive the CSR policies of organisations across the supply base is crucial to business success. The days of transactional procurement relationships are gone. Strategic procurement in today’s business world requires an ability to collaborate with suppliers to generate increased value and a sophisticated approach to manage risks from a global supply chain.


Looking ahead, we need to shift thinking towards:

Collaboration = more value

Supply chain networks often hold the keys to innovation and whether its supplier relationship management, accelerators or idea challenges its procurement which needs to help their organizations identify and develop novel ideas.

Shared values = trust

Policing the supply chain is one strategy and the use of audits or 3rd party monitoring programmes play their part. Alternatively, aligning your supply base so that it re-enforces and supports your values is a powerful driver of success.

Technology = more visibility

Technology can act as an enabler for business to adopt a more responsive, coherent and insightful reporting framework. Data-enabled dynamic, accessible and real-time CSR reporting will become the norm and is already being demanded by tech savvy stakeholders today.

You can read Proxima's report 'Is workforce transformation the key to improving commercial capability?' here. 

Read the most recent articles written by Proxima - Why COVID-19 doesn’t mean that developing at pace needs to grind to a halt…


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