Social­ly respon­si­ble busi­ness: Let ethics dri­ve you to new success

In brief

You should be dri­ven to suc­cess by your indus­try, busi­ness skills, cre­ativ­i­ty and ethics, and not con­flict­ed by them. You can still run a prof­itable busi­ness and ben­e­fit soci­ety at the same time. Euge Pow­er, solic­i­tor at Swaab Attor­neys, sets out some of the ways that a busi­ness can be social­ly responsible.

Are you wor­ried your desire to do the right thing social­ly is prac­ti­cal­ly impos­si­ble giv­en your cut-throat indus­try and competitors?

If you struc­ture your social­ly respon­si­ble busi­ness effec­tive­ly your ethics can be the dif­fer­ence you need to suc­ceed in your indus­try, by attract­ing new cus­tomers, enhanc­ing your rep­u­ta­tion, and attract­ing the best employ­ees and new investors.

In the pre­vi­ous arti­cle in the Social Respon­si­bil­i­ty Series, I looked at B‑Corporation cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Here are some oth­er exam­ples of ini­tia­tives our clients have tak­en to make their busi­ness­es more social­ly responsible.

  • Make social respon­si­bil­i­ty a pri­or­i­ty in your con­sti­tu­tion. Social­ly respon­si­ble investors will take you more seri­ous­ly if you can show them you are putting your mon­ey where your mouth is. Putting your stan­dards or min­i­mum expec­ta­tions into your con­sti­tu­tion shows your com­mit­ment to the cause is enshrined in your business.
  • Imple­ment eth­i­cal employ­ment poli­cies. If you can show prospec­tive employ­ees that you have poli­cies which pro­mote and reward social­ly respon­si­ble behav­iour, this is like­ly to lead to increased engage­ment from your workforce.
  • Give a lit­tle. Be involved in some­thing which helps you con­nect with peo­ple. Do it with­out expect­ing any­thing in return. Peo­ple see the good and want to be part of it.
  • Empow­er your employ­ees. This can be let­ting employ­ees decide how to con­tribute – spon­sor­ing a cause, tak­ing leave with­out pay for a human­i­tar­i­an mis­sion, employ­ee team build­ing by work­ing in a soup kitchen, blood dona­tion dri­ves or tinned food dri­ves. The oppor­tu­ni­ties are limitless.
  • Pro bono. Usu­al­ly a term affil­i­at­ed with law firms, pro bono ser­vices or goods can be pro­vid­ed by any busi­ness. Pro­vid­ing your time or ser­vices free of charge is a great way to give to those who may need some­thing which your busi­ness can provide.
  • Char­i­ta­ble dona­tions. Busi­ness­es can organ­ise a work­place-giv­ing pro­gram which allows for employ­ees to put pre-tax dol­lars towards a char­i­ty cho­sen either by the employ­ee or the busi­ness. Organ­i­sa­tions like the Char­i­ties Aid Foun­da­tion Aus­tralia set up to help you imple­ment these sort of pro­grams to make it easy.

If you are keen to find out more about the ways you might be able to struc­ture your busi­ness to align with eth­i­cal and social respon­si­bil­i­ties, con­tact the Cor­po­rate Team at Swaab Attorneys.