Do you consider the impact of the business you are running on you, your staff, your community and the wider world?
Nyasha is very concerned about the impact of what she does in life and in business on those who are close to her as well as the impact beyond her immediate surroundings. Nyasha believes that every business should be thinking about its impact not only on the community they live in but also beyond the community – there should be no limit in the globalised world in which we live.
Nyasha has personal experience of this having been born and raised in Zimbabwe, arriving in London as a teenager. She experienced two very different cultures at an early age! As soon as she was able, she founded Vana Trust to support children in the UK but also back in Zimbabwe. Vana Trust supports an educational organic farm in Buckinghamshire and helps children to attend St. David’s School in Nyandoro, Zimbabwe. Vana Trust also supports children when they leave St. David’s with funding for further education or training. In addition, Nyasha founded World Impact Capital to assist women’s enterprise in the Southern Africa Development Community region.
Making an impact in business is often known as corporate social responsibility (CSR) and we believe this should be built into the business plan right from the start, particularly in a social business. This will ensure that it is a planned activity but also the business announces what they are doing. CSR activities are not only a good thing to do but can also be a useful marketing activity. CSR activities should focus on:
A business should operate in a way that is lawful, responsible and morally right. The perceived ethics of a business will be the criteria on how others judge the business and therefore decide whether the business can be trusted.
If you want to run a sustainable business you need to set a high ethical standard to mitigate the risk of decisions being made which can cause financial loss or injury to others. It is important to clearly define your ethics and ensure they are communicated to your staff. You should include your standards of honesty, integrity, keeping your promises, loyalty, fairness, caring, respect, keeping things legal, excellence, leadership, morality and accountability.
Nyasha believes businesses have an obligation to reduce their environmental impact. Some businesses will need to comply with environmental legislation, but in many businesses thinking about the environmental impact can be as simple as recycling paper or old IT equipment and offering recycling facilities in the office. A business may want to consider carbon neutral solutions including tree planting, better use of technology, using renewable sources of power or using suppliers with clear environmental policies.
If a business employs staff; directors should consider the needs of their employees beyond traditional benefits like pay and benefits. Many employees want to be able to participate in causes and issues that matter to them and would like to help and to give their time to volunteer in their communities. This makes the business more attractive as an employer as well as helping local communities and raising the profile of the business.
It makes sense for businesses to help the communities in which they are based. This will raise the profile of the business in the local community and businesses will find out more about their local area and possibly (depending on the business) their potential customers.
What does your business do with respect to CSR? Do share any ideas in the comments below.