This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018
By their very nature, business operations have some impacts, both positive and negative, on the local community because the economic, social and environmental effects are so closely interconnected. Good community relations can underpin a business’ sense of identity. It is therefore important to a business’ reputation that good community relations are maintained and any community impacts are supported, mitigated or minimised. To neglect this, or allow a company’s reputation to fall into disrepute with its local community, through lack of involvement or consultation, might seriously affect the foundations of the business’ identity and its social licence to operate.
For example, commercial activities may lead to heavy traffic, overburdening local transport infrastructure with associated traffic jams and delays, traffic accidents and reduced productivity for a delayed workforce. The heavy traffic causes noise and air pollution, with detrimental effect on the health of local people , adverse effect upon the performance of children in school and reduced quality of life in surrounding communities. Such places may be under flight paths near an airport or close to a heavy manufacturing plant. Likewise, business decisions about outsourcing services, staff layoffs or closures may be necessary for profitable operations but lead to a decrease in the quality of life in local communities if comparable job opportunities are not available. Such damage may be mitigated or minimized through good planning and community engagement.
Conversely, businesses may be in a position to have positive impact beyond providing secure employment. This might include taking steps to improve the physical environment by tree planting, creating wildlife refuges or supporting community societies and sports, training and investment.
The objective of a strategy to support the quality of life within a local community is to enhance the local profile of the business, which might have the following benefits:
facilitate the recruitment and retention of local staff (improving diversity and inclusion)
help create a healthy corporate culture
reap economic benefits (e.g. increased take-up of commercial service, income generating services such as room hire, commercial services, cpd courses)
Facilitate estate development
The City of Edinburgh having a sense of ownership and pride in the University
Possible ways to improve quality of life and mitigate or even avoid damage to local community include:
● social impact assessments
● communication and effective collaboration with stakeholders
● investment in the community
● operational planning
● Undertaking Community Development partnership (CDP) initiatives
This question, however, also provides an opportunity for a business to describe some of the ways it has supported the local community. These may be substantial investments in economically depressed areas such as specifically locating facilities in such places, investing in local infrastructure, contributing to local civil society such as business groups that promote entrepreneurship, restoring landscapes and wildlife habitats: the list is endless.
This question asks businesses to consider the negative or positive impacts they have had on the community and in what ways they have managed these.