Prince launches Community Mark to gauge business impact

Helen Warrell

Business in the Community is launching a branding scheme that will measure how effectively corporate social responsibility programmes benefit local groups.

The Community Mark was announced by the Prince of Wales, who is president of BiTC, in a speech at last week's HM Revenue & Customs CSR Summit. Describing the mark as a "challenging and rigorous new standard", the prince said the scheme would "measure impact as well as input, recognising those who can demonstrate they are making a real difference on the ground".

Companies wishing to be considered for the scheme will be asked to fill in an online survey and then undergo a further refereeing process if they reach the required standard. Once they receive the brand, companies will be re-accredited every two years.

A core group of charities and umbrella bodies, including the NCVO, CAF and Volunteering England, have joined a BiTC steering group to advise on how the mark should be assessed.

According to a BiTC spokeswoman, voluntary and community groups will be key to evaluating business impact. "Charity partners will be asked to provide evidence and support for companies so we can quantify their input," she said.

The pilot project will be under way by mid-November, and the scheme will open officially in January.

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