People involved with corporate social responsibility (CSR) need to take a reality check so that they can better listen to their key stakeholders, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Nigel Smith, director of CSR at the consortium will tell delegates tomorrow at the BRC CSR conference that CSR has become ‘dangerously theoretical and academic’.
“CSR has to be about real businesses and the practicalities that matter to and benefit key stakeholders – whether they are consumers, shareholders, staff or interested parties in the media,” Smith will say.
In June, the DTI launched a CSR academy to ‘mainstream’ CSR into organisations so that it stops being an add-on and becomes integrated into companies’ business decisions.
The academy aims to address some of the shortcomings of CSR approaches to date, such as the tendency for organisations to focus on parts of the business rather than the system as a whole, the confusion caused by the proliferation of initiatives, and the tendency to reduce CSR to a box-ticking process.