Perception of CSR

We asked businesses what they perceive CSR to be. The top four responses were: conducting business in an ethical and responsible manner (87%), reducing the company’s impact on the environment (75%) supporting communities (63%) and providing a safe and inclusive working environment for employees (62%). Only a very small proportion were unaware as to what CSR entails.

Respondents appeared to understand that CSR incorporates internal and external concerns. In addition, most believed that CSR is about supporting communities and not just donating money to charity (25%).

Other responses provided focused on ‘developing talent for the future’ and ‘enhancing the visibility of construction as a career to be pursued.’ 

82% of respondents stated that CSR is very important/quite important to their company.

To provide some insight as to why CSR is important to their organisation, we asked what the main drivers are behind their CSR efforts.

Brand reputation was the greatest driver with 73% choosing this option. Customers’ environmental concerns and employee interests came in joint second with 54%. Client requirements was fourth (51%) closely followed by community environmental concern (49%), while 41% reported that waste reduction was one of the main drivers for CSR activity and around one third highlighted pressure from stakeholders and regulatory compliance.  Only 3% reported that do not undertake any CSR at all. 

Other reasons provided as the main driver included:

“A need to support our industry and our communities”

“Personal belief by the Managing Partner that it is the right thing to do and that a strong CSR ethos reflects the way we do business”

“CSR is an integral part of our business, particularly in investing in local economies and providing apprenticeships and work placements. Using the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs is essential to ensuring our workforce fulfil their true potential, netter still if those people are local”

Implementation and reporting of CSR

Where respondent organisations undertake CSR activity the majority (71%) deal with it as an integral part of their business.  The remainder either have a specific department, allocate responsibility to an individual or deal with it project by project.

When we asked what types of CSR activities are being undertaken across the sector a wide range of activities were identified. The most common was waste recycling (75%).  Employee health and wellbeing ranked second with 67%, supporting communities was third and reducing carbon footprint ranked fourth. Encouragingly, only 5% didn’t undertake any CSR activity.

However, only 41% stated that they report on their CSR activity. Just a fifth of these said it is comprehensive, a third said their reporting is basic and just under half stated that it could be improved.


For those who don’t report, the main reason was that they don’t know how to (45%) with around one third saying they don’t have the time or don’t have the resource.  Only 9% thought it was too expensive to implement while 8% don’t think it is important.

Client requirements for CSR

When we asked whether respondents had seen an increase in CSR performance being a core requirements for clients, 46% said they had seen an increase from the public sector, 26% from the private sector and 23% from both. Only 5% had not seen an increase in client requirements. Furthermore, 77% felt that their CSR performance would affect their ability to win work either now or in the future.

Impacts of CSR

The next part of the survey sought to establish the impacts a lack of CSR activity and/or reporting has on respondent organisations. Whilst 67% reported that they have not experienced any impact(s) from a lack of CSR performance, there were a number who have.

The greatest impact was failure to qualify for tenders (16%) with small proportions stating that that they have seen a lack of employee engagement, had a disadvantage in recruiting new people or had been less competitive in the market place.

When asked whether they felt they had the in-house skills to address and fulfil their CSR requirements, most believed that they do (67%) with the remainder (33%) believing that they do not.

On a positive note, 59% said that addressing CSR would help them address skills gaps and shortages.