The way the market is moving, the importance of basing your roots on principles of social responsibility is growing. No longer is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) an add on, just as no longer does a PS2 and a few yoga classes provide all the needs that an employee wants to get out of a work place. Through upholding to widely held social principles and values, CSR can instil a sense of pride in employees, and foster a positive and engaging environment for your workforce. Take Tom’s for example, a shoe brand that without its charitable USP of buy one, donate one, might not have had such a positive reception, and subsequent success.

In recent years, part due to the rise of the internet, there has been increased communication, awareness and reactions to presiding issues around the world; humanitarian, environmental and so on. Taking an environmental example, many of us have seen the viral video of a straw being pulled from a turtle’s nose, which prompted a global response and many to swear to never again use a straw. And these reactive shock waves don’t just change how we want to structure our personal worlds, we want to see our values and principles pass into our professional domain. In this case, it is no longer enough for a company to provide the odd ping-pong table and Friday evening beer trolley and expect employee satisfaction. Staff need reassurance that you’ll look after their health, provide them with personalised development schemes, but most importantly, they want to be part of a positive environment, in a company they can say they are proud to work for.

At ROAST, we believe that you don’t have to be Google sized to achieve a green existence and practise social responsibility. From our birth, we have done our philanthropic part, getting involved in fundraising events; from half marathons to bake sales, supporting and donating to each other’s causes. Furthermore, we do the small things, that make a big difference to the environment; using energy efficient lighting, encouraging limited usage of elevators, heating and air conditioning, as well as recycling. Uniquely though, we have just launched our ‘ROAST Relief’ scheme, a six-part annual donation programme. The first event kicked of this month, which is the month of harvest, so we asked employees to donate items for a local food bank over a two-week period. October will see us allow our staff a Halloween treat, to take time off from work to donate blood locally. In continuing months, we will see further initiatives take place, such as providing clothing to local charity shops during fashion week and providing Easter Eggs for children’s hospital wards over the holiday.

At our company we have five houses, founded by our original Roasties, that take part in games and social activities throughout the year competing for an extra holiday day, as well as providing employees with an internal support network from day one. To add an element of competition to ‘ROAST Relief’, we’ve stipulated that the house that donates the most, will win an extra point, encouraging teams, built up from different disciplines, to work together, to do good, whilst feeling good about doing it.

At ROAST, consideration of everything and everyone, sits under the same umbrella of responsible business, rather than being broken out into employee satisfaction, customer and client services and CSR. I believe that this is only the start of an evolution of the responsibilities businesses will take on in the future. This new CSR focused model puts responsibility, in all aspects, at the heart of business. Whilst we have only taken our first step at ROAST, by introducing our new company wide programme, at least we have moved our first pawn. We might be small, but don’t under estimate what we can achieve.