Chamber's wider remit will help build thriving communities

Corporate philanthropy has come a long way from the days when it was perceived as little more than a tax-deductible business expense.

Providing a junior league football team with kit for a year was once considered enough for a company to claim it was part of its local community.

However, more and more companies are starting to better understand the links between meaningful community engagement and their own successes – whether that’s around better engaging and developing existing staff, attracting the next generation of workforce or winning a new contract with others wanting to know they’re having an impact with the money they spend.

Next week, East Midlands Chamber will be hosting its second annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Summit, at which delegates will hear from representatives of companies already working meaningfully with local communities and learn more about how they can get the best results for both themselves and the communities they’re based in.

They’ll also hear how the Chamber, which has widened its vision to ‘enhancing East Midlands businesses and communities’, is seeking to take a lead in helping firms engage in CSR activity.

Scott Knowles, the Chamber’s Chief Executive, will tell delegates: “The focus in future will be about how businesses – particularly small and medium organisations – and communities work together for shared goals.

“Nowadays, it is not enough for a business just to provide jobs. Whether you’re a customer, employee or partner, people want to know that the company they work with cares about people and the planet, not just about profit.

“We are keen to create more opportunities for businesses to engage in CSR activities and to ensure the impact of this can be maximised both for the communities and the businesses themselves. Importantly we believe firmly in the link between successful businesses and thriving local communities.”

Research carried out by the Chamber found that 62% of members already engage in ‘CSR’, with 81% of those saying they do it because it is the ‘right thing to do’.

Sixty-eight per cent do it because they want to develop links with the community, 44% said it helps them build profile, 38% reported a personal connection to a cause and 31% viewed it as part of their staff development strategy.

Forty-one per cent of respondents said they intended to increase activity in this area in the year ahead. For those that don’t get involved in CSR, the main reason given was either not having enough resource or not having considered it.

The Chamber’s CSR Summit takes place at the University of Derby Chesterfield Campus on Tuesday 25 June from 8am to 10am. For more information visit https://bit.ly/2RlfHlC.

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