Doing good do it right

You're keen to implement CSR, but it's a demanding exercise to establish a sound and effective policy that percolates through the entire organisation and shapes everything it does. Mark Vernon and Craig Mackenzie offer 20 top tips to put you on the path of righteousness.

MANAGEMENT

1. Make sure the CEO gets it. If he or she doesn't, companies will struggle to pay more than lip-service to corporate social resposibility. In this respect, CSR is no different from any substantial corporate activity. For example, at telecoms company Vodafone, CSR is set as one of six board-level, strategic goals. The company's group executive committee, chaired by CEO Arun Sarin, is responsible for policy and performance.

Incidentally, there is a serious economic argument to be made for CSR: it doesn't just deliver for the environment, it delivers on the bottom line too. Companies as diverse as the retailer Marks & Spencer, the telco BT, the healthcare specialist Novo Nordisk and the bank HSBC have found that being known for ethical integrity is quite as important financially as a strong brand and good management. Moreover, good CSR practice has been shown to reduce attrition rates and absenteeism in the workforce.

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