Thursday, 11 September 2014

Community engagement is not about being nice; it’s the fourth pillar of CSR

Reads the title of an interesting article from Guardian Sustainable Business. CSR? Corporate social responsibility. The article makes the point that: engagement is a way to understand, engage in and act upon critical workplace, marketplace and environmental issues. It is not additional; it is central. It is not about being nice; it is about addressing business objectives. And it is definitely not about ‘giving back’; it is about companies being part of, not apart from, society.
We touched on the subject a couple of weeks ago in Doesn't AI do hearts and minds any more? and gave an example of just such a company trying to connect with the local community - trying to be part of society - in an open day at its cement plant in Derbyshire. How successful was that open day? More than 2000 people attended, which indicates that local people do want to engage with what's going on in their community. The article finishes by saying:
If sustainability is about benefiting all stakeholders in the long-term, then community engagement can play a central role, helping companies and their people to understand and embrace issues, ensuring a positive impact on all stakeholders.
It's all common sense really; which makes it all the more surprising that community engagement is so low down on the list of priorities for certain quarry companies - companies that cause so much negative impact on local people and the surrounding environment.