Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is anything but a business buzzword. Consumers are increasingly interested in how ‘responsibly’ brands operate – they want to make purchases from companies acting ethically and take a stand for the ones that don’t.
The stats back it up too; a 2018 survey found that 91% of global consumers said they would expect companies to conduct themselves with CSR in mind1. It works the other way, too – 90% also said that they wouldn’t buy from companies supporting issues which conflict with their own beliefs2.
CSR is something which many businesses take seriously. The John Lewis Partnership3, for example, has its own “written constitution” on the subject, while cosmetics company, Lush, uses its environmental policy and anti-animal cruelty stance as a major part of its marketing strategy4.
CSR at the University of Birmingham
Corporate social responsibility is not just the domain of corporate policy and consumer behaviour – it is also integral to the teaching and philosophy at the University of Birmingham.
“Responsible business is a key aspect of all our activities at Birmingham Business School” says Dean Catherine Cassell. “Indeed, our vision for the School is to promote curiosity and thought leadership for responsible business. Our mission is to deliver internationally recognised research focusing upon the key challenges around responsible business that face our economy and our society both regionally and globally. Our intention is that this research both informs and enhances our educational delivery5.”
£2.5 million research school
The University of Birmingham’s commitment to CSR was further cemented when Lloyds Banking Group partnered with the University of Birmingham in 2017 to create a Centre for Responsible Business6. Existing within the Birmingham Business School, the £2.5 million research centre is a space dedicated to exploring how businesses can be ‘rewired responsibly’ to become a part of the responsible business revolution.
The Centre’s team of tutors and academics work with companies on a range of areas to help them develop sustainable business models, responsible financing, accountability mechanisms and workplace diversity.
As part of this partnership, ‘Principles of Responsible Business’ modules have been embedded into Birmingham Business School’s Undergraduate, Masters and MBA programmes – transforming management education in responsible business leadership, entrepreneurship and citizenship and helping to drive long term change in the country’s business community6.
Lloyds Banking Group offer a flagship example of showcasing the importance and benefits of responsible business:
“A sustainable and responsible approach to doing business is integral to everything we do. Doing business responsibly is fundamental to our strategy and our purpose to help Britain prosper7.”
In 2019, this meant that the banking group:
- Provided digital skills training to more than 730,000 individuals, SMEs and charities
- Donated £25.2 million to their four charitable foundations, enabling them to support almost 3,000 charities
- Lent over £13 billion to first time buyers
- Delivered over 246,000 volunteering hours with an aim to deliver 720,000 hours by the end of 20208
Building an understanding of CSR
It’s crucial that business leaders and employees take responsibility for their actions, especially at a time when consumers are paying such close attention. Doing so can help to instil trust and respect in prospective customers.
If you’re looking to learn more about how you could bring your company in line with responsible business principles, studying the Online MBA could help. It has a full module on Business in Society, which looks in detail at both CSR and business ethics. You could learn theories from the fields of strategic management, business policy, politics, sociology and philosophy to prepare for the ethical expectations of life in today’s corporate landscape.
Being fully online, the Online MBA provides the perfect opportunity to develop a valuable understanding of important business topics like CSR without taking a career break or relocating. To find out more about the programme, please fill out our request for information form or call our Admissions Team today.
- COLLIER, E. (2018) The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility for Your Business [online] Available at: <https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/importance-of-corporate-social-responsibility/> [Accessed 04.03.2020]
- UNKNOWN. (2015) 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study [online] Available at: <https://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2015-cone-communications-ebiquity-global-csr-study> [Accessed 04.03.2020]
- UNKNOWN. (2018) Our Responsibilities [online] Available at <https://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/csr.html> [Accessed 29.11.2018]
- UNKNOWN. (2018) Our Environmental Policy [online] Available at <https://uk.lush.com/article/our-environmental-policy> [Accessed 29.11.2018]
- UNKNOWN (2018) Working for a Responsible Future Sharing Information On Progress Report [Online] Available at: <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/business/responsible-future-progress-report.pdf> [Accessed 04.03.20]
- UNKNOWN (2017) Lloyds Banking Group and the University of Birmingham unveil new research centre to transform responsible business practice in the banking industry [Online] Available at: <https://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/Media/Press-Releases/press-releases-2017/lloyds-banking-group/lloyds-banking-group-and-the-university-of-birmingham/> [Accessed 04.03.20]
- UNKNOWN. (2018) Responsible Business [online] Available at <https://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/our-group/responsible-business/> [Accessed 29.11.2018]
- UNKNOWN (2020) Responsible business [Online] Available at: <https://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/our-group/responsible-business/> [Accessed 04.03.20]