Construction and CSR: Engaging local communities

Account executive Cara May-Cole explains the importance of CSR and community engagement within the construction industry and how it benefits both businesses and local developments.

CSR and its benefits

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has now become standard practice for businesses. It’s all about the belief that companies should have a positive impact on communities outside of their own personal, financial gain. CSR is about investment into the community and society at large- whether that be economic, environmental or social.

CSR activity can be key to improving your company’s reputation. Companies that are willing to demonstrate loyalty to a cause not only improve their image, but can also increase employee satisfaction and brand awareness.

If you needed any more convincing- the public definitely take notice. In a recent study on the benefits of CSR, over 88% of consumers said they were “more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”

CSR in the construction industry

The construction industry is often challenged to really commit to doing more CSR activity. Why? Because construction has a massive influence over not just individual people but communities. When a building is being designed and built, every interaction from the time the area is mapped out will contribute to a community’s standard of living.

There is now a great expectation on the industry as a whole to interact and be accountable for the changes it is making to a space. Though investing in CSR isn’t obligatory, it’s a really great opportunity to showcase your consideration and respect to those affected by your work.

Engagement at local level

A great CSR project I’d like to highlight is from Woodhead Group. As a construction firm, they are great when it comes to collaborating on initiatives across the city of Nottingham.

In an effort to get more women interested in pursuing a career in construction, Woodhead and its partners Nottingham City Homes (NCH) led a free event at its latest Meadows development.

Woodhead’s work with Nottingham City Homes has been going on for a number of years. It aims to help tackle the skills shortage of the industry as a whole and directly encouraging women into joining the workforce.

When you think about CSR, it doesn’t always have to be on a grand scale. This is a great example of how you can tackle an industry wide-problem at your doorstep and still make a difference.

The next steps

So, here are some practical steps you can take when starting your process:

Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS)– This has been specifically created to help improve the image of the construction sector in the UK. The Best Practise Hub is one of the resources created by the initiative, which includes a Code of Considerate Practice. The code sets out minimum CSR expectations and rankings for your business and is a great guide if you’re unsure about what your first steps should be.

•Local community groups-  as a business, check out some local charities or community groups that you feel could benefit from either volunteering efforts or donations.

•Supporting local education- look into promoting the industry and supporting local apprenticeships and educational programmes.

•Take an environmental pledge- the amount of waste created during a building’s construction has always been a hot topic of concern across the industry. Look into ways your business can minimise waste. You can even get the community involved by making a pledge to support environmental causes in the area.

Adapting your business to focus on social responsibility is a win-win for bettering communities and improving the construction industry’s reputation.

If you’d like to chat more about how to improve your CSR offering, get in touch..

By Cara May-Cole

Cara has spent most of her PR career working in digital marketing agencies, creating successful, SEO led media campaigns. She has supported a number of clients across finance, education, art and design sectors-securing regional and national coverage for various businesses.