View more on these topics

BSA launches CSR report

The Building Society Association has launched its second report into corporate social responsibility in the building society sector.

The report, Societies in Society, examines CSR activity across a whole sector, rather than the activity of an individual firm.

The main findings show that building societies have increased their CSR activity in the last three years, compared to a similar survey conducted in 2002.

Given the fact the fact that societies are diverse in their size and location, there are different approaches to CSR, but areas where societies are increasing activities include supporting employees in charitable work, involving members, introducing written policies, taking environmental action including green travel, and looking closely at the ethics of their supply chain.

Supporting local communities has always been an important part of societies activity.

Increasingly societies are recognising the importance of this activity to employees, and the benefits that can be realised from supporting employees in fundraising and volunteering opportunities.

The majority of societies – 66% – take action to support employees’ charitable commitments, compared with 30% who did so in 2002.

While societies have always recognised the importance of providing a good service to members, over the last three years great steps have been taken to involve members more in the operation of the society, encouraging feedback and AGM attendance.

In 2002, 70% of societies took steps to enable members to share their views, while 20% took steps to encourage AGM attendance.

In 2005, 93% are supporting members in sharing their views, and 63% taking specific actions to encourage attendance at AGMs.

Most societies have written policies on corporate governance, health and safety and employee development.

Larger societies are much more likely than smaller ones to have policies on community investment, environmental management and diversity.

24% of societies now have a written policy on their approach to managing environmental impacts, compared with 2% in 2002.

Environmental action has increased, with greater percentages of societies now taking steps to reduce energy use and promote recycling.

Green travel is an area where there has been an increase in activity since 2002.

Larger societies, however, are more likely to have the resources available to provide facilities like bike racks and showers to promote alternative forms of transport for employees.

This is reflected in the percentage of larger societies taking some action in this area (90%).

As well as managing direct impacts on communities and the environment, it is becoming increasingly common for organisations to consider the impact of activities within their supply chains.

This can be a complex area to address, but almost two-thirds of societies are taking some form of action, such as only buying fair-trade and recycled products.

Amongst larger societies, 90% are taking action which again may be a reflection of greater resources.

Adrian Coles, director-general of the BSA, says: “Building societies have always had one focus, delivering good products and services to members, whilst contributing to the sustainability of the communities from which their members are drawn.

As such, CSR activity, before it was called that, was at the core of their ethos and values.

“Even though the business case was long established, even for smaller organisations, there had been little formal reporting.

Since our first survey in 2002, societies have become more organised and are consolidating their activities.

This is especially noticeable in managing environmental responsibilities and in improving interactions with members, as well as reporting.”

Recommended

Intrinsic launches with 300 advisers

Intrinsic Financial Services, the new multi-tie network headed up by the former global CEO of Zurich Financial Services, has officially launched.The network already boasts some 300 appointed representatives purely from word of mouth, providing holistic advice on a wide range of products and services from some the UKs market leaders including life, pensions, investment, general […]

Yorkshire gives 2m to charity

Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation has donated over 2m to more than 3,600 charities in the past seven years

Cup kick-starts commercial deals

As we approach the knockout rounds of the World Cup this country is bathed in sunshine, unusually for this time of year. It occurs to me that despite analysts and economists telling us their thoughts on world markets and what drives the UK economy it’s a simple equation – the economy is dictated by the weather and big sporting events.

25% of small lenders’ and brokers’ KFIs not up to scratch, says FSA

Over 25% of small and medium firms’ Key Facts Illustrations are not up to scratch and still contain errors relating to fees and charges, says the Financial Services Authority. Although large lenders, who account for three quarters of total mortgage lending in the UK, have been praised for making good progress in taking steps to […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up