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Each year, Responsible Business Week celebrates the work companies do in the community and the positive change they make to society.  And so they should! If you are a business making a social and environmental impact then get thee to Twitter I say!

It has been reported that around half of the British public do not think that businesses make a positive contribution to society. This is a shame, particularly for those companies making efforts to give back and take corporate social responsibility (CSR) seriously.

A couple of months ago I attended the National CSR Awards and was enthused to see companies of all sizes participating in the event. It was fantastic to hear about exciting and progressive projects. People were buzzing, networking, and learning from one another – and later, they were even spinning around Mercedes-Benz world in electric cars.

The positive vibe was coupled with a sense of urgency for more companies to realise the importance of committing to CSR programmes that do not just tick boxes, but have a real and measurable impact. Projects should not be about simply signing a cheque, having a recycling bin or painting a school – we should have bid farewell to this stereotype a long time ago.

In an engaging seminar Ed Gillespie, Founder of Futera, stated that as CSR becomes a bigger, and increasingly necessary, aspect of business that those who are not up to speed with being responsible or those communicating it poorly will be left behind in this competitive market. These words struck a chord. I agree wholeheartedly.

Recently Ponte worked with Interim Partners to shape their social responsibility strategy and to broker new business-community partnerships in London and Harrogate.

It was fantastic to work with a company keen to engage, be proactive and commit. The goal was to team the business with the needs of individuals local to them to maximise the social impact in their area.

Supporting two excellent charities, Spear and Harrogate & Ripon VC, colleagues at Interim Partners have delivered workshops, have a fundraising committee and are helping the community and making a real difference to people’s lives.

CSR, responsible business, corporate citizenship – whatever you care to call it – boils down to making a positive change. Companies need to embrace it and make sure it is communicated well and as widely as possible. There is great value in talking more freely and widely about a company’s social and environmental impact. It can positively affect your bottom line, help with staff retention and recruitment, boost the company’s profile and the obvious – it feels good to give back.

So, here’s to making a difference and shouting it from the rooftops!

This is a guest post by Sophie Earnshaw, Founding Director of Ponte Consulting, the original blog post and further information on how Ponte help community-spirited organisations get their CSR approach right can be found here.

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