CSR activities as listed by McWilliams et al (2006) include incorporating social characteristics or features into products and manufacturing processes, adopting progressive human resource management practices, achieving higher levels of environmental performance through recycling and pollution abatement, and advancing the goals of community organizations.
Business in the Community (2007) surveyed the CSR activities of 120 leading British companies and summarized them under four headings:
- Community – skills and education, employability and social exclusion were frequently identified as key risks and opportunities.
Other major activities were support for local community initiatives and being a responsible and safe neighbour.
- Environment – most companies reported climate change and resource-use as key issues for their business. Eighty-five per cent of them managed their impacts through an environmental management system.
- Marketplace – the issues most frequently mentioned by companies were research and development, procurement and supply chain,
responsible selling, responsible marketing, and product safety. There was a rising focus on fair treatment of customers, providing
appropriate product information and labelling, and on the impacts of products on customer health.
- Workplace – this was the strongest management performing area as most companies have established employment management
frameworks that can cater for workplace issues as they emerge. Companies recognized the crucial role of employees in achieving
responsible business practices. Increasing emphasis was placed on internal communications and training to raise awareness and
understanding of why it is relevant to employees and valuable for the business. More attention was being paid to health and well-being issues as well as the traditional safety agenda. More work was being done on diversity, both to ensure the business attracts a diverse workforce and to communicate the business case for diversity internally.
Business in the Community (2007) also reported a growing emphasis on responsible business as a source of competitive advantage as firms move beyond minimizing risk to creating opportunities.