Nathan Lane, managing director of Golley Slater Birmingham and ProHelp board member reveals what CSR means to him:
“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means many different things to everyone but essentially the goal will always remain the same. The purpose for me of undertaking any CSR activity is to improve the quality of lives of those we are surrounded by and the communities in which we operate.
“Every day companies in and around the Midlands make an impact on the region, be it environmentally, financially or physically. It is how we manage this impact and use this to make a difference to where we live, that counts. Working in public relations we deal with a number of large and small businesses in the region and it is clear that CSR is a high priority to every single one of them. The saying ‘no man is an island’ has never been more true when it comes to industry.
“Companies these days are working together as a team to change the ways in which the city operates, people are treated and dangers that face the community. It is this regional spirit, I believe, that makes Birmingham and the Midlands a leading force in the power of CSR.
“My first involvement with CSR came when I was still working in Yorkshire. I had always been interested in the effect the business community had on the people of the area and I felt that using my skills in PR was a good way to make a tangible difference. Since my move to Birmingham I have really been able to increase my involvement with CSR by working with ProHelp and in BITC.
“Getting involved with ProHelp was an easy decision for me, not only did it allow me to advise clients on community engagement strategies which made a difference to the communities in which Golley Slater operates but improve staff relations (internally and externally) and make a difference to my business’s bottom line. It also helped us put more structure around a previously ad-hoc pro bono programme and focus on the outcomes for our own business.
“CSR can often be confused with philanthropy – which is the simple act of giving – but to me, this is the wrong approach. For any kind of relationship to really prosper both parties must benefit in some way and this has to sit at the heart of any businesses approach to CSR.
“By establishing strong links between individuals, businesses and communities, we can work together to set a commercial agenda that takes steps to improve and make a difference to our collective lot.”