- Available in: PDF
- Published: January 1, 2008
Edited by Dr Amy Lunt.
Published 2008 (ISBN 1 905370 30 X) Price £9.95
Britain has a long and distinguished history of corporate philanthropy and business involvement in the community, dating back to the 19th-century pioneers such as Cadbury and Rowntree. Today British companies still lead the world in promoting corporate social responsibility and “corporate citizenship”. That tradition of business investment and involvement in the community has brought with it enormous benefits and helped create a broad consensus that enterprise and fairness can be pursued together. Indeed, as the Prime Minister has commented, “businesses up and down the country are already demonstrating that they understand that corporate self-interest and corporate social responsibility – the good economy and the good society – advance together”. This view is echoed by business leaders, who increasingly understand the risks and rewards that corporate responsibility brings, not least in the positive impact that their firms can have on local communities. As this insightful review clearly demonstrates, business engagement with the community is no longer an afterthought. It has moved rapidly in recent years from the margins of company activity to the corporate mainstream. Indeed, there has been a noticeable increase in both boardroom and shareholder awareness and with it a variety of innovative new approaches to integrating corporate community involvement into business plans and structures. At the same time, local and central government and the “third sector” have been adapting their policies and programmes to help promote partnership working and support business involvement. As the authors of the report point out, the collaboration between government, business and community is an incredibly powerful force for change. However, sustaining collaboration and getting the institutional, policy and regulatory architecture right in a more complex and sophisticated business environment is far from easy. There are important lessons to be learned from past experience, but, as this report shows, there is also a lot more that can be achieved by studying the suggestions, recommendations and commitments that have emerged since the 1990s. The way in which the authors have done this – by reviewing and highlighting key priorities for action – provides a practical and immensely valuable contribution to extending the scope and quality of corporate community involvement.