Ten tips for implementing CSR in an organisation

The following ten key tips are taken from an article that appeared in Ethical Corporation (www.ethicalcorp.com), which I thought we interesting and worth commenting on.

  1. In a survey for the report, 93% of companies recognize the value of embedding CR into business processes yet only 49% of companies confirm that CR is a clear component of overall company strategy, and 49% or companies do not believe that they understand what is necessary to do to embed CR into their business.
  2. Embedding requires a simultaneous top-down and bottom-up approach – to ensure consistency and shared values at the same time as local ownership of issues and impacts.
  3. Corporate responsibility requires communication throughout the process – with different audiences, for different purposes, using different tools. CR communications can help to bridge the divide for colleagues and management, helping them to understand and feel part of the CR agenda.
  4. Don’t neglect commercialisation considerations; sustainable R&D needs to be married up with marketing, so make sure you anticipate challenges in introducing more sustainable products into your mainstream product offering, and capitalise on the knowledge and experience of marketing professionals to guide your efforts.
  5. A company’s sustainability risks and impacts – and its CR potential – may be closely tied to its activities up and down the value chain. Working with raw materials sourcing, contract manufacturing, logistics, distributors and customers can greatly increase your control over your CR objectives. For an increasing number of industries, such value-chain activity is essential to meeting consumer needs, reducing risk and expanding opportunity.
  6. Companies should be aware of the role of social media in giving voice to stakeholders, including local communities. Social media allows groups – even small community groups – to extend and magnify their messages, reaching much more influential audiences than they might have otherwise.
  7. Consider how NGO partnerships can help you meet community needs and aspirations while making use of your core strengths and position as a business.
  8. Setting and delivering on targets requires a fuller implementation plan – a road map – to bring together a clarification of the company’s objectives with the physical, financial, human and intellectual resources required to get there.
  9. Green lens: Looking at the business through a different “green lens” means people spot new opportunities to reduce impacts and costs by less obvious means. (M&S Case Study)
  10. Achieve a few early CR successes, and you might be excused for wanting to rest on your laurels. But CR isn’t something that can be “done” and left on a shelf – it’s a continual part of risk management and market creation.

I think one of the key tips given is the importance of both a top down and a bottom up approach. Top down is in my view essential. If there is no support or empathy at Director or Board level, then there is little chance of success. Yet, to achieve measurable success, you need to align this with a strong bottom up strategy. We have experience of this at Greenhouse Graphics.

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