AS THE Economic & Social Research Council reports; the history of social and environmental concern about business is as old as trade itself.
Commercial logging operations, together with laws to protect forests, can be traced back almost 5,000 years. By the 1920s discussions about the social responsibilities of business had evolved into what we can recognise as the beginnings of the modern CSER movement.
Today we face many of the same corporate, social and environmental issues. But over the last decade prompted by the advent of global warming and publicity about child labour and the like - businesses world-wide have quickened the pace of CSER evolution recognising the magnitude of their responsibilities to future civilisations.
A new buzz-word
One of the current CSER buzz-words is accountability being called to account and made answerable for ones actions.
For Brakes Group, CSER accountability runs through the heart of its CSER strategy, operations and programmes. Its committed to protecting tomorrow today; minimising its impact on the environment and respecting the communities it serves.
To have true accountability, Brakes Group has followed a stringent process. We have identified a series of strategic drivers; set clear targets against each; sought the commitment of senior management; formulated associated policies and procedures; developed specific activities and programmes; created tactical delivery teams; and, most importantly - accurately reported achievements.
Setting strategic drivers and targets
Following a comprehensive CSER risk and opportunity exercise, Brakes Group established a robust CSER framework focusing on five strategic drivers. These CSER pillars reflect various areas of business Brakes Group business engagement, to deliver a more sustainable future for all.
For instance, within its community pillar, Brakes Group is dedicated to working with charities that particularly improve healthy eating for those who lack access to nutritional food or to assist young people into work. And under its environment pillar, Brakes Group is aiming to drive down food miles, reduce fuel consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more energy efficient.
Each pillar is given a clear set of specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed objectives which the business is accountable for achieving.
Policies and actions are also developed to help customers - from both the cost and profit sector - to meet their own specific CSER strategy, commitments and targets.
Seeking team buy-in and defining activities
To achieve internal buy-in at every level, a member of the Brakes Group executive team sponsors each CSER pillar, supported by a number of senior managers in the business.
The company formed working groups internally and externally - to deliver specific CSER activities and programmes. Each group is given accountability for a schemes investment, logistics, trial and delivery against the corporate schedule.
The Group Executive Committee regularly reviews progress to ensure all activity is in line with company strategy and that the organisation is on track to meet or exceed the agreed targets.
Creating a code of conduct
Specific CSER policies and procedures have been devised and defined to provide clear working practices and accountabilities on a wealth of different business areas. Such Environmental, Health & Safety and Equal Opportunity Policies documents are supplied to Brakes Group employees, suppliers and customers.
Conducting transparent & accurate reporting
Of course, being held accountable is reliant on effective, transparent and accurate reporting.
To achieve this Brakes Group Board of Directors and its Executive Committee regularly review progress against key milestones - taking action where appropriate, to ensure the companys CSER strategy is delivered and all commitments are upheld.
Brakes Group will continue to stretch the boundaries of what can be achieved in foodservice and is committed to being accountable to current and future generations.