Back when I was a fresh faced besuited bank employee, I remember getting quite excited by the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – no really!

I remember the celebrated management consultant Peter Drucker writing about how crucial it was to turn social problems into economic opportunities and I remember that in 1989 the wonderful Ben & Jerry’s published the first ever social report. At the time, as a young employee and a bit of an idealist, it seemed very important to me that the company you worked for cared about stuff and wasn’t just about profit.

Just a few years later in 1995 Shell spent £20 million on its PR offensive to rebuild its reputation following accusations of complicity in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists in Nigeria. By pioneering the use of CSR reports, Shell managed to successfully rebuild the company’s reputation.

Now call me a cynic but it was at this point that I think the game changed! What had originally been about companies recognising that they had a responsibility to society became more about how companies can use the techniques of CSR to enhance their brand, divert attention from some massive faux pas or simply as a means of ticking a box for the annual report.

For me CSR should not be just an afterthought in the business plan, it should be driven by philanthropy as well as economic benefit.

The companies that support Forever Manchester do recognise that they have a real responsibility to care about the society we’re part of, the people that work for them and the communities and neighbourhoods they live in. These are organisations that we love working with.

If you share our philosophy and want to take a fresh look at how your company is being socially responsible, please get in touch with us now.

Nick Massey