To have a true CSR impact you must involve the whole company

Stuart Howard Dollar UKCorporate Social Responsibility has become a buzzword heard in most boardrooms and offices. The concept that companies exist within a wider community and should benefit society as well as their shareholders is widely held. And rightly so. Nonetheless, some cynics still insist that CSR is at best an act of empty corporate philanthropy, and at worst a smokescreen used to hide a multitude of corporate sins.

At Dollar UK, we see CSR very differently. We do not treat it as an extra function of an ancillary team housed in the basement – to be wheeled out for corporate events and awards. We see CSR as a central function that underpins the ethos of the whole company, and so we ensure that it is factored into everything we do.

As part of this ethos, we have become a Living Wage employer. We believe that our employees should be proud of their work, and a good full time job should enable them to provide for themselves and their families. Research has also shown that paying a living wage leads to increased staff retention and higher productivity, which supports our view that good CSR is also good business.

“To be a truly socially responsible company, we are keen to get the buy in of all 1200 Dollar UK staff.”

As part of this ethos, we also believe in giving back to the community by actively supporting others to do what they do best. We have therefore embarked on a number of partnerships with organisations that make a difference in the communities we serve. Since 2009 we have partnered with Helen & Douglas House Children’s Hospice and our staff have raised over half a million pounds through local events from bake sales to sponsored runs. We have also partnered with veteran’s charity Help for Heroes, and most recently Wolves FC who are well known throughout the West Midlands for their charitable work.

To be a truly socially responsible company, we are keen to get the buy in of all 1200 Dollar UK staff. We have decided to support our staff in giving back to the community by giving each and every employee a half day’s paid leave to volunteer within an organisation or charity of their choice. Considering our existing relationships, staff will be able to volunteer with the organisations we proudly count as partners, but will equally have the freedom to organise volunteering opportunities for the causes they care deeply about.

“Our aim is to be the most socially responsible lender.”

Securing this buy-in from all Dollar UK staff through active involvement in our CSR projects has made a difference to our corporate morale as well as our corporate image. When we say that our aim is to be the most socially responsible lender, we are not using empty buzzwords, but voicing a central aspect of the company’s ethos that every employee can feel with pride.

 


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  1. TomLevitt -

    It’s true that ‘some cynics still insist that CSR is at best an act of empty corporate philanthropy, and at worst a smokescreen used to hide a multitude of corporate sins’. Mr Howard says that Dollar ‘see CSR as a central function that underpins the ethos of the whole company’ — but that should be much more than just encouraging employees to undertake ‘bake sales and sponsored runs’ and allowing them half a day per year of paid(?) volunteering time. It’s also about being a responsible trader. Dollar is a finance company whose major subsidiary, Money Shop, was last year ordered to return to low income customers £15M which it had not been entitled to take (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34639178). That’s not responsible lending or responsible business. But it is indeed a ‘smokescreen’.