It’s no secret that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is good for business. Corporate social responsibility makes your business more appealing to customers, a better investment for shareholders, and drives you to be more innovative in the marketplace. Because CSR initiatives are becoming such an important trend in business, corporate level management are searching for the tools they need to focus their efforts. But once you have a corporate social responsibility software in mind, what should you do with it?
Software tools often let you automate your efforts, achieving improved progress while reducing the demands on time and money. But unless you have your CSR plans and goals in place, automating the process will just spin your wheels in a more effecient manner.
Of course, there’s no way that corporate social responsibility software can replace all of your manual CSR work, but here are a few ways that you can use an Environmental Management Software (EMS) to maximize the results from your corporate social responsibility efforts:
Corporate sustainability is a win/win for businesses and consumers. A sustainable business uses it resources more effectively and is more resistant to sudden changes in the market or environment. Consumers know their purchase is a responsible investment in the environment and makes them feel empowered.
Being sustainable will save your business money, but getting sustainable doesn’t come easily. Your business needs to be in control of all its waste streams, resource use, and energy consumption.
Measure to Manage, as the expression goes.
Normally, businesses track these things reactively for reporting purposes. But how much insight do you gain from measuring these parameters? And how should you use this data to improve your performance?
Most companies simply do not know and are reporting just for the sake of reporting.
While having a tool to give you this data is important, what's more important is having the right people on the job to return value from that data.
Get ISO 14001 Certified
ISO 14001 certification is one of the best ways to demonstrate that your business is environmentally and socially responsible. While ISO 14001 doesn’t require your business to install some form of corporate social responsibility software, it does require you to implement a management system into your business plan.
Implementing a proper EMS software tool is one of the easiest and cost effective methods of meeting this requirement, as it will cover 95% of the effort required for ISO 14001.
Go Beyond Basic Reporting Requirements
Almost every business has to report some form of environmental or health & safety compliance to the government. However, you can add value to your compliance by going the extra step and engaging in voluntary and/or public reporting.
In many cases, like Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting, your business has the opportunity to go above and beyond minimum reporting requirements by reporting GHG emissions to public information counsels and environmental agencies.
Most companies do not take full advantage of the benefits associated with doing business the right way. If you know your company is performing well, actively seek out additional ways for you to disclose information about your activities and show transparency whenever possible.
Lead by example and then communicate this to your market. It will pay big rewards.
Don’t Cut Corners
The fastest way to undermine all of your corporate social responsibility efforts is to get caught breaking the rules or cutting corners.
Under-reporting your pollutant emissions is a losing strategy. Even if this happens because of a genuine mistake, or a misunderstanding, it will not communicate the right message about the way you do business.
Alternatively, over-reporting to play it safe makes you look like you're making a bigger mess than you are.
Instead, always have the most accurate data possible, and be confident in reporting it. Consumers appreciate a business that is transparent and honest about its environmental, social and economic impact.
Getting caught cheating on your government reports will not only hit you with a noncompliance fine, it can often be a public relations disaster that can eat into share value.
But by using EMS software, you’ll have the data you need to clearly demonstrate just how socially responsible your business is.
Download ERA’s free whitepaper “The Hows and Whys of Sustainability” to learn much more about how to implement a sustainability road map and understand how best to benefit from being socially responsible.
November 17, 2011