Sustainability and CSR Accreditation

An alternative to B Corp certification

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March was B Corp Month, but B Corp certification isn’t the only accreditation in the corporate social responsibility arena – Rob Pooley ACCA of Haines Watts talks about the CSR Accreditation that his office recently achieved.

There’s more onus on businesses to act in a socially responsible way than ever before. And it’s those who are putting their efforts at the heart of everything they do who are staying ahead of their competitors when it comes to clients, customers and talent.

Environmental and social responsibility is about developing a strong company culture that empowers employees to act in a legal, ethical and responsible manner. Whether it’s your employees, suppliers, community or environment, the benefits of working in a responsible way are felt far and wide. But it can also yield real benefits for your business too: if done correctly it can help build a strong culture which positively affects people and productivity.

We’re really proud to have achieved the CSR Accreditation (CSRa) recently. An accolade which provides independent validation and recognition of our efforts towards social responsibility.

What is CSR Accreditation?

The CSRa is not only a powerful way to communicate the positive actions of businesses to all of their stakeholders, it is an effective way to benchmark what you are already doing and where you can strive to do more.

It can be used to address ESG compliance, join the race to net zero, build a culture that empowers employees and win tenders, all whilst improving brand reputation.

By collating, measuring and reporting on your organisation’s socially responsible activities, the process can also provide you with a roadmap for planning future activity.

How do you apply and what does the process look like?

The application process is simple and straightforward. You are asked to record activity against the four pillars of social responsibility: environment, workplace, community and philanthropy.

Each pillar is designed to help you impact report on areas such as energy performance, recycling, team engagement, health and wellbeing, community engagement and support for local and national charities.

What does it all mean for businesses?

It’s vital that there is a purpose behind your strategy, and that you’re not implementing a CSR strategy just for the sake of it, accreditation or recognition.

That being said, a social responsibility accreditation can support you in setting better business goals, making better business decisions and improving your relationships.

And with more onus on CSR policies and procedures, especially with Millennials and Gen Z, having a robust purpose-led strategy in place can help to attract and retain upcoming talent within your industry. In turn, you have the opportunity to improve staff engagement and retention, increase profits and sales and build a better reputation.

Social responsibility is an investment in the future sustainability and profitability of your organisation.

Leading the way on social responsibility

We were absolutely delighted to have been the first Haines Watts office within the Haines Watts network to have achieved a silver CSR accreditation.

Speaking on our firm’s responsibilities and motivations for the accreditations, our managing director, David Fort, said: ‘It’s down to every single member of the community – both business and social – to do their bit to ensure that Manchester retains creditability and is really the vibrant place that we all enjoy working through and with.

‘We’re trying to get that message out to the team to understand how they want to development and what they want to add back to the wider community.’

For businesses, the overall aim is to achieve a positive impact on society as a whole while maximising the creation of shared value for the owners of the business, its employees, shareholders and stakeholders. But the recognition can be a crucial component of a company’s competitiveness and something that should be led by the business itself.