Getting the value from community investment

May 28, 2008

Getting the value from community investment

In this edition it’s ‘back to the future’ as we examine the changing role of community affairs.

With this edition, number 99, we return to our roots and ask “where now for community affairs?” in a world where corporate social responsibility looks very different from when we started out.

When Issue 1 of Briefing appeared back in 1991, the great debate was how to move community from philanthropy into an investment mindset, seeking returns for the community and for the company. Today some are still grappling with making that transition. But most have moved forward. So what is the next challenge?

Arguably, it’s all about true impact.

Companies and their partners need now to focus on real results. That means looking hard at the community programme and what it achieves. And it means thinking through the wider impact of the business – where we site our factories and offices, who we employ, how we manage our value chain of suppliers through to distributors and end consumers. But crucially it means joining those two strands up and truly reintegrating community relations into mainstream business, in a way that the Victorian industrialists, the so-called philanthropists, would instantly recognise, as they worried about poor housing, drunkenness and ill health.

Alongside our usual round up of news and analysis in this edition, Amanda Jordan reflects on the unfulfilled promise of more than 15 years of government initiatives to involve business, while Jon Lloyd brings his insights from working with members of one of the successes of the last decade, LBG.

Here at Briefing, with issue 100 almost upon us, we are still as committed as we were back in 1991 to providing incisive briefing on ‘business and society’ concerns from a practitioner perspective. As we near our century, we are reflecting on how best to continue meeting the needs of companies and their partners. Watch out for a readers’ survey asking you in-depth questions about what you want and how you want it. And stand by for changes as we move forward.