Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is business's contribution to sustainable development. Today, corporate behaviour must not only ensure returns to shareholders, wages to employees and products and services to customers, it must also respond to social, environmental and ethical concerns.
The base level for responsible and ethical behaviour for any organisation is legal compliance, such as risk evaluation, cultural change, environmental protection, health and safety and employment rights. CSR is essentially about companies moving beyond a base of legal compliance to integrating socially and ethically responsible behaviour into their core values.
For many years the principle of CSR and its reporting have been voluntary activities for companies, however, the EU Accounts Modernisation Directive and the 2006 Companies Act have now made it mandatory for companies to produce an enhanced Business Review. The introduction of the Bribery Act has made it a criminal offence for UK nationals and bodies incorporated under UK law to bribe anywhere in the world. UK companies need to be proactive in responding to this and other related developments.
Companies are having to be more proactive in their delivery of social and ethical responsibility and be mindful of the legislation and best practice in this area. As adviser to the Board, it is the responsibility of the Company Secretary to remain aware of the latest developments and attitudes surrounding CSR and ethical trading.