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How to be a more socially responsible small business

For small to medium enterprises (SMEs), engaging in social responsibilities can become a challenge when resources are limited. However, this doesn’t mean it isn’t achievable – adjustments can be made to how businesses perform corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Businesses of all sizes should consider how they bring about positive and mindful change within their workforce, community and to the wider public.

Improve business from the inside out
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to share – and live – company values. If your staff can’t articulate your business’ values, or incorporate them into their day-to-day, it’s time to think about how you can better formalise these principles in your business operations.

Larger enterprises such as Westpac and PwC attribute their CSR success to enforcing gender diverse workforces and flexible employment contracts. Employees who feel trusted and appreciated by their workplace are far more likely to uphold company values than those who feel undervalued.

Work with local initiatives
Partnering with local initiatives is an excellent opportunity for your business to not only share success but also build a stronger community and learn from a variety of organisations. Whether your business donates, volunteers or sponsors local organisations, your business will also gain a reputation for giving back.

A great example is value-led brand Ecostore and its Fairground Foundation. Through this program, it has funded multiple community programs that endorse family wellness and recycling. For SMEs, finding a local initiative to support is a viable opportunity for making their social footprint count.

Make mindful partnerships

Choose suppliers and distributors that also commit to responsible employment and environmental practices. Taking the time to investigate the supply chain of your products and choose the most ethical and sustainable option can be eye-opening to injustice – while partnering with organisations that have less than ideal practices can be damaging to your brand.

Implement sustainable change

SMEs that adopt environmentally friendly practices in the workplace have the added advantage of saving money while lessening the impact of their corporate footprint. So what’s good for the globe is good for business. Whether you choose small but impactful initiatives (like implementing composting facilities, selecting sustainable products to use in your business, or going 100% paperless), organise regular clean-up days of nearby areas, or get involved in carbon offsetting initiatives.

Successful business leaders know that taking a well-rounded approach to their organisation brings the most significant achievements. They also know value-led leadership and management doesn’t always come easy. The skills learnt in an online MBA support organisational change of all types – including the adoption of social responsibility practices.

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