engage magazine issue 004 \'07 - Page 51

BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITIES 51 West London Why should Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) become engaged in CR initiatives? There are a number of reasons that support a business case for such activity: 1. Local Profile – both staff and customers come from the local community in which a business operates. Good community relations can improve customer loyalty and staff retention efficient use of energy and waste reduction through recycling can save overhead expenditure. There will also be wider societal benefits through the reduction of greenhouse gases which cause global warming. For SMEs, being socially and environmentally responsible may seem yet another example of red tape. However, this is more than compliance – it is a voluntary activity which should be seen as beneficial to corporate strategy. It can also contribute to financial success, for example by reducing environmental costs through increased recycling. West London Business is working with SMEs in West London to provide them with support as they engage in this new agenda. It can provide training and consultancy to establish a CR policy as well as set up staff briefings on what it means for them and the benefits to the business. If you would like to know more about these services and details of future meetings of WLB’s Corporate Responsibility Network please take a look at www.westlondon.com Peter Desmond is Managing Director of Growth International Limited, a change management consultancy www.growthinternational.com which was awarded a ‘Big Tick’ this year by Business in the Community. Email: peter@growthinternational.com 2. Cost savings – more 3. Supply chain – smaller suppliers are being asked by large corporates and local government to adopt standards of responsible business practice. By following this lead, SMEs can more easily bid for tenders and compete against the large players. 4. Entrepreneurship and Innovation – SMEs can develop niche markets using CR principles. For example a furniture importer only using wood from sustainable forests will attract customers who wish to minimise the global impact of their buying decisions. ard agenda? ISSUE FOUR 2007 engage | uk