Corporate social responsibility—CSR—regulatory requirements
Produced in partnership with Joanna Kennedy of The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K)

The following Practice Management practice note produced in partnership with Joanna Kennedy of The Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K) provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Corporate social responsibility—CSR—regulatory requirements
  • Regulatory requirements
  • SRA requirements
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Companies Act 2006
  • Lexcel
  • Investors in People (IIP)
  • ISO 26000: Social responsibility
  • UN Global Compact

Corporate social responsibility—CSR—regulatory requirements

This Practice Note considers regulatory requirements relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

For information about CSR strategies and formulating a CSR policy, see Practice Notes: Formulating your firm's approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR)—larger firms and Formulating your firm's approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR)—small and medium firms.

Regulatory requirements

Although there is no single piece of CSR legislation setting out specific obligations for businesses to adhere to, there is a vast array of legislation relating to equality and diversity (E&D)—see Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) below—protection of employees, health and safety, protection of the consumer, environmental protection and human rights. These are all key ingredients of CSR. In addition, firms also need to consider any regulatory or practice standard/accreditation requirements around CSR.

SRA requirements

There is no SRA requirement for a firm to have any form of CSR strategy or policy. However, firms may find that having a clear CSR policy can help them focus their business processes to produce an overall positive impact for clients.

As mentioned above, CSR has many links with E&D and firms should keep in mind their regulatory obligations relating to E&D.

Equality Act 2010

EqA 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate against people with a disability or because of their age. This could include:

  1. treating a person less favourably for a reason related to their disability or age, or

  2. not making reasonable

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