The SE15 Consortium brings improved benefits to the many people and organisations that have a stake in the health and welfare of residents of Peckham and Nunhead.
Motivations for resourcing the work of the VCS within the Corporate Sector are many and varied, and consequently so are the reasons why the Consortium can be important to them.
Typically, companies who take their Corporate Social Responsibility seriously will do so for one, or a combination of, the following reasons:
- Human resources - A CSR program can be an aid to recruitment and retention, particularly within the competitive graduate student market. It is not unusual for potential recruits to ask about a firm’s CSR policy, and having a comprehensive policy can give an advantage. CSR can also help improve the perception of a company among its staff, particularly when staff can become involved through payroll giving, fundraising activities or community volunteering; it is also found to encourage better customer focus amongst frontline employees.
- Risk management – Identifying and reducing risk is a central part of most corporate strategies. Reputations take decades to build up, but can be ruined in hours through incidents such as corruption scandals or environmental accidents, as these draw unwanted attention from regulators, courts, governments and media. Building a genuine culture of ‘doing the right thing’ within a corporation, which customers/clients believe in and value can often substantially offset these risks.
- Brand identity and differentiation - in crowded marketplaces, companies strive for a unique selling proposition that can help separate them from the competition in the minds of consumers. CSR can play a role in building customer loyalty based on distinctive ethical values; indeed a number of major “brands” such as The John Lewis Partnership, The Co-operative Group, and The Body Shop are built on ethical values. Business service organizations can benefit too from building a reputation for integrity and best practice.
- License to operate – companies are keen to avoid interference in their business through taxation or regulation, and by taking substantive voluntary steps, they can often persuade governments and the wider public that they are taking and addressing issues such as diversity, environment, public health, safety of citizens, etc. seriously as good corporate citizens.
For a VCS organisation, the key to success is in finding a corporate body that shares your vision, and identifies and wishes to be associated with the difference you are trying to make. Their involvement can take many forms, though more often not financial, to help ensure you can build the skills and capability to deliver those benefits so that they can be directly associated with the success you achieve.
The SE15 Consortium the Corporate Sector with an easy access channel of communication with organisations and/or issues they wish to associate with, but also with a wider range of people (and potential customers) who can immediately identify with what they are trying to do. Organisations working within the Consortium are inevitably improving their skills and capabilities as part of that way of working, which makes them more attractive as potential partners for companies.