Corporate social responsibility in construction CSR
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to the belief that companies should have a positive impact on the community and wider society rather than simply generating profit. The overall impact of a company is determined by what it produces, the environmental impact, its recruitment and training processes, its adherence to rights and values, its investment in the community, and so on.
CSR responsibilities are often expressed in terms of four general categories:
There can be considerable damage, in terms of PR as well as financial impacts if a company fails to fulfil obligations in terms of health and safety, the environment, human rights, gender discrimination, and so on. Surveys often show that people believe a company to be a ‘good employer’ if they have established links with charities, schools or other local community groups. In addition, companies that are open and transparent in their reporting on CSR are generally viewed more positively by their stakeholders.
Construction companies are often challenged to do more in this area, and have in the past made great strides to improve, particularly with regard to health and safety. However, the industry as a whole has a generally poor record on employment and diversity issues, with women and ethnic minorities being consistently under-represented. A 2016 survey found that women make up only 11% of the UK construction workforce, and just 1% of onsite workers.
- Well-designed buildings which improve quality of life and wellbeing.
- Supporting education programmes.
- Supporting local community groups.
- Giving time or other resources for charitable activities.
- Good design and construction of community spaces, such as lighting, cycle paths, landscape, and so on.
- Responsible purchasing.
- Minimising waste.
- Internships and work experience programmes.
- Supporting apprenticeships.
- Flexible working for employees.
- Work-from-home plans, gym memberships, subsidised public transport, and other employee benefits.
- Improved hiring practices.
- Career management, mentoring and training programmes.
- Paying the living wage to all employees.
- Minimising payment delays to subcontractors in the supply chain.
- Energy efficiency initiatives.
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Construction organisations and strategy.
- Corporate finance.
- Corporate wellness programmes.
- Creating social value from civil engineering projects.
- Diversity in the construction industry.
- Environmental legislation.
- Ethical sourcing.
- Ethics in construction.
- Human resource management in construction.
- Modern slavery.
- Modern Slavery Act and sustainable supply chains.
- Office manual.
- Professional practice.
- Qualifying Explanatory Statement QES.
- Recyclable construction materials.
- Relationship management.
- Site waste management plan.
- Social Value Act.
- Statutory obligations.
- Transform to Net Zero.
- What makes a great place to work?
- Working rule agreement.
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