From time to time business gets a bad name when stories pop up about alleged fat cat salaries, poor treatment of workers and let’s not even mention bankers’ bonuses.
Yet the reality is that very many local companies not only deal with their staff extremely fairly, creating jobs and providing salaries which allow families to live an agreeable lifestyle, not to mention generating business rates which help fund public services. But they also do very much more by contributing to the community of which they are a part.
The fancy title is Corporate Social Responsibility – the things that companies do which are over and above their business activity. It comes in all shapes and forms, such as giving staff some time off to help a charitable activity, taking a whole department out to do something like re-paint a village hall or sponsoring a sporting event.
I think it says a lot about the high quality of the commercial culture of Bath that so many businesses take their social responsibility so seriously. They do so because they are genuinely interested in the long term future of the place in which they operate. As a result their opinions should always be considered when important political decisions are made.
Recently Trevor Osborne explained to members of the Initiative in B&NES about a really interesting new way in which the efforts of business can be galvanised to help good causes. It is called the Bath Per Cent Club, which is attracting members who agree to allocate a percent of their annual profits to locally connected charitable causes either in kind, in donations or sponsorship, which includes contributions made by staff.
The Club does not collect funds, it just asks for an unaudited commitment from its members to contribute to local causes, to generate a sense of corporate responsibility and to act generously towards the less fortunate in the locality. You can find out more about the club at http://thepercentclub.com
This new venture is just one of the ways in which businesses can do their bit to help. Companies who choose not to participate in this way will no doubt be doing so in others. The important thing is that the world of commerce is playing a big part in supporting good causes and our business community should be congratulated for all it does.