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Don’t Waste Your Corporate Social Responsibility

20 November 2017

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Our Chief Operating Officer, Marc Jennings talks about the importance of CSR, particularly in terms of our waste.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) first began to take hold as a concept in the late 1990s as businesses began to take their part in society – and how it was perceived by others – more seriously. Like many worthy initiatives, some took it more seriously than others. For some it was an opportunity to ensure that their organisation was not harming the world around them, and instead was actually help improve things. For others it was a simple ‘tick box’ exercise, used to keep investors and customers happy.

A commitment to sustainability

We’ve seen a similar reaction to sustainability commitments with many businesses taking their responsibilities very seriously, but others accused of ‘greenwashing’ to take credit without doing the hard work.

As we move towards a ‘Circular Economy’ where resources are kept in the loop for as long as possible, rather than a linear extract-use-dispose of model, true CSR and sustainability are more important than ever. If commitments aren’t real, ambitions will not be met and resources will continue to be wasted.

We are committed to improving the way resources are dealt with, and work closely with our customers to develop efficient and effective solutions. We believe that zero waste is an achievable goal and something that as a company, as an industry and as individuals we have a responsibility to achieve.

Part of our commitment is to recognise that waste is a global issue, and that some parts of the world need more help than others. According to WasteAid UK, half the world’s waste isn’t properly managed, leading to disease, pollution and climate change. Transforming used materials into useful products turns this problem into an opportunity. WasteAid UK is campaigning to increase international aid to 3% of total spend in order for waste management to fulfil its potential as an engine for sustainable development.

Worthy causes

For us, supporting WasteAid makes sense and also brings many benefits. We held a full range of fundraising events in support of WasteAid Week 2016. These included a ‘Tacky Tie’ contest, ‘Guess the Number of Sweets’, a clothing drive and multiple litter-picks throughout the community, and ended with a 5km sponsored run.

This week marks WasteAid Week 2017 (20-26 November) and it’s easy to play your part. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it gets people involved. Through our activities last year we engaged our employees and customers and raised over £1,400. We found participating in this way strengthened everyone’s understanding of our own goals as well as those of WasteAid. Our actions during the week helped to demonstrate that, for us, CSR and our sustainability commitments are very real and that they are embedded in everything we do.

There are so many worthy charities and causes, often making it hard to select the most appropriate one. Waste isn’t the most glamourous, perhaps, but it is a subject that affects everyone and needs to be tackled if we are to manage our resources effectively and reduce the impacts of climate change – and the other negative impacts waste brings. How is your business demonstrating its CSR?