A series on CSR as a poverty reduction strategy & social innovation tool
If a company wants to improve its social performance, what would you recommend? Work on your relationships? Get involved in your community? Buy local?
Sounds good. But why bother – who cares?
There are very good reasons why companies should care about their social performance. For the big picture read my previous post. It outlines a daunting list of mega-trends from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2013 Global Risks Report. Many of them will affect our social well-being and all will create both risks and opportunities for business.
So, when Industry Canada asked me to add “social” components to its environmental sustainability roadmap I was delighted to contribute. The Sustainability Roadmap is a user-friendly micro site that is designed to help companies reduce their negative and enhance their positive social and environmental impacts. Designed for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), it is equally relevant to large companies.
Each section deals with operational, management and business case benefits. It also provides case studies of social and environmental sustainability in practice.
The social components of the Sustainability Roadmap help businesses improve the social quality of life for their employees, communities and customers. It helps them embed a “social perspective” into their governance, business systems, products, services and operations.
In doing so, they will help to create a ripple of positive effects in society. As more companies enhance their social performance, the results begin to appear in skills development, job creation for marginalized populations, enhanced mental health, social inclusion, healthier lifestyles and ultimately in poverty reduction. And, by the way, they can do all these things in ways that create positive business and shareholder value.
If companies are supported to enhance their corporate social performance, this could reduce demand on government services and help address the second most prevalent global risk identified in the WEF study – unsustainable government debt.
In my next few posts, I will walk you through the five areas of social sustainability covered by the Social Sustainability Roadmap:
For more information see: Social Sustainability Roadmap
I go to Coro when I need unbiased strategic advice and expertise. There are very few people in the sustainability sphere I can reach out to who can offer both strategic and practical guidance. Coro fills a pretty unique need. She is highly attuned to best practices in sustainability and provides important insight on where sustainability is going. She liberally shares her work and her network with me.
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Corporate social responsibility is stuck. When it emerged on the scene 20 years ago, businesses and other stakeholders had high expectations for what a focus on CSR could deliver. But the reality is that neither business nor society are on track to enable nine billion people to live well within the boundaries of the planet by 2050 – let alone 2030.
If your sustainability strategy is three or more years old, time to chart a new course with a refreshed, ambitious Sustainability Vision.
Boards are the last great sustainability frontier. They set the sustainability tone at the top, which then cascades throughout the company.
Employees want more from their employer than a paycheque. They crave a sense of pride and fulfillment and want to work for a company whose values match their own.
Getting started going circular. Where can we turn for inspiration? HP is certainly one innovation leader to watch.