“Placing corporate responsibility at the heart of your business is, of course, a brilliant way of helping local communities in these challenging times. But did you know it can also boost your books?
We spoke to three companies reaping the benefits
A year after the 1981 riots in Toxteth and Brixton, the UK was suffering high unemployment and inner-city unrest. These events informed the creation of Business in the Community (BITC), a business charity dedicated to regenerating local economies. Its slogan was “healthy back streets make for healthy high streets”.
“Following the riots businesses realised that what happens in the community impacts on them,” says Andy Melia, CommunityMark manager at BITC. “They understood that working with communities is a sensible and responsible way to do business and that it has benefits for them as an organisation.”
Mark Goyder, founder director of business-led thinktank Tomorrow’s Company, believes that some of the reasons that led to the launch of BITC are resurfacing. “There is a danger of a growing divide between business and society through a lack of trust. Look at the recent riots, the vandalism of Fortnum & Mason during the spending cuts protest or Rupert Murdoch being splattered with shaving foam. It is a symbol of people saying business stinks,” he says. The withdrawal of public funding from charities and community projects adds to the problem. “There is a big gap to be filled. Businesses are stepping up and saying we can make a contribution here,” he adds.”
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