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With the advent of the Public Services (Social Value) Act, the Modern Slavery Act, and pivotal events such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and COP 21, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has once again been brought into the spotlight.
In a report published in December 2016, based on a survey of its members, the National Federation of Builders (NFB)suggested that CSR isn’t fully understood in the SME sector and that companies face challenges in reporting their CSR performance due to time and resource limitations. These SMEs compete directly against larger contractors, who have greater capacity to report their CSR, and this can affect their ability to compete in the market place.
Following publication of the report, the NFB has secured funding from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to support SMEs in developing and embedding CSR strategies within their businesses, better placing them to compete on a level playing field with their larger counterparts.
Karen Dawes, Head of Business & Skills at the NFB says, “The construction industry recognises the importance of CSR and there is some excellent work being undertaken to deliver the benefits of a more responsible approach to business.
“We know clients are now legally required to consider issues of social value and community benefits alongside more traditional environmental issues.
“What stands out the most, however, is the needs of SMEs in comparison to larger companies. The industry is telling us that it lacks the skills, the time and the resources to fully realise all the benefits of CSR.”
The NFB is hosting a series of CSR roadshows across England to launch its IMPACT: CSR in construction project. Mark Farmer has been announced as a keynote speaker at the event in London on 27 March.
Mark Farmer is the author of a bold new government report into the skills crisis. His report, Modernise or Die dwells on the importance of finding a home grown solution to the crisis which is particularly salient with the impending impact of Brexit. His address to delegates attending the NFB’s London roadshow will focus on how CSR and skills development can play a vital role in the modernisation of the industry.
To read the full NFB CSR survey, find out more about the upcoming roadshows or the IMPACT: CSR in construction project, visit www.csr.construction.