What is a responsible business, and why is it much less boring than it sounds?

Responsibility seems to be the new buzzword escaping everyone’s lips. Here’s a lowdown on what a responsible business might look like – and equally, what it doesn’t look like.

Responsibility - it's not boring, honestly.

Responsibility. The word conjures up connotations of acting sensibly, chores or being tied down. But when it comes to business, acting responsibly can pay back in dividends. Let me explain.

The first thing to note is that responsibility is not about philanthropy (necessarily), it’s pro-business, so that includes profit-making, too. The second thing to note is that responsible business is more traditionally known as CSR. That said, according to this blog, the ‘corporate’ in CSR suggests that it doesn’t apply to SMEs or non-profits.

A recent infographic by GlobeScan shows exactly what certain stakeholder groups around the world value most from corporate responsibility strategies. For struggling economies like Spain and Greece, this means job creation and economic support. In countries like the UK, US and Canada, it’s about looking after your employees, and for Australia, Brazil and India, protecting the environment is key.

It is this emphasis on economic development that sets it apart from pure philanthropy.

So the next time you think about being responsible, don’t feel like a bore; it can actually make your business happy.

1. Environment. How much could you save by being more efficient with energy, waste and water?

2. Employees. Looking after your workforce and keeping them motivated will reduce turnover, absenteeism and increase productivity.

3. Community. Sourcing locally can reduce your carbon footprint, and engaging in community activities can be fun, and another way to engage your employees (particularly the milennials.)

Responsibility can also be the key to innovation, according to companies like TATA, Jaguar Land Rover and We Are Pop-Up.

What do you think – that responsible business and CSR are one and the same, or there are subtle differences? Share your thoughts below.