DSC

Charities must improve CSR and sustainability to restore trust in the sector - report

Written by David Adams
25/04/2019

The largest charities should do more to publicise and promote a commitment to corporate and social responsibility (CSR) and environmental sustainability to help restore trust in the sector, according to a report from Forster Communications. It suggests that while sustainability and CSR are now mainstream concerns within businesses, among many larger charities a commitment to them “is an aspiration rather than a reality”.

Researchers at Forster examined the annual reports, websites and LinkedIn profiles of the top 100 fundraising charities in the UK, to see if sustainability or corporate responsibility policies or plans were publicly available, or if these terms appeared in any staff job titles. They found that only two (CRUK and RNLI) had a publicly available corporate responsibility policy; while only ten per cent of the organisations reviewed had a named sustainability lead.

The researchers found that where corporate responsibility was mentioned it referred to the businesses charities worked with, rather than the charities themselves; and that within web pages and annual reports the term ‘sustainability’ was most commonly associated with finances.

Some readers may find such findings a little irritating, particularly the idea that the charity sector might be considered less ethical, or less socially or environmentally responsible than the private sector. Nonetheless, these findings should not be dismissed out of hand. The report suggests this is an important issue because the charity sector needs to do more to mitigate the damage caused by fundraising and governance scandals that have undermined public trust in the sector. As its authors state: “How charities operate and how ethical and honest they are form the key drivers for public trust, over and above the impact they make in terms of their mission.”

The report makes nine recommendations on how organisations could address and improve approaches to CSR, sustainability and leadership, so that “their methods match their mission”. The recommendations are based on lessons drawn from the work of charities including CRUK, Who Cares? Scotland, Oxfam, Sightsavers and Autistica. The report can be downloaded at https://s16882.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Matching-Method-to-Mission.pdf



Related Articles


  • Charity Times Awards Event Date: 2nd October 2019 Event Deadline: Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Charity Times Pensions Roundtable Event Date: 10th October 2019 Event Deadline: Searcy's at the Gherkin 11am - 3pm For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Investors Forum – Climate Change Event Date: 22nd October 2019 Event Deadline: 1 Birdcage Walk Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Charity Times Annual Conference Event Date: 6th May 2020 Event Deadline: The Waldorf Hilton, London
  • Property Roundtable Event Date: 2020 TBC Event Deadline: Searcy’s at the Gherkin For booking and enquiries email linda.libetta@charitytimes.com
  • Better Society Awards Event Date: 23rd May 2019 Event Deadline: 25th January 2019 London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London
Most read stories...