Building Sustainability Governance & Culture – The right Q’s and a handy tool

Published on June 11, 2013

Smart companies ask how they can adjust for success in the rapidly changing business environment. Humbly, I say they need look no further than the Transformational Company Qualities I developed with Canadian Business for Social Responsibility.

Through extensive global research, we determined that these are the key characteristics that a company needs to rewire its business model for 21st -century success.

A top recommendation is to adopt a sustainability governance framework and culture. But this is easier said than done since many organizations’ governance and management systems are decades old.

So, where to begin? Over my sustainability career, I have drafted several tools on sustainable governance embedment and advised company boards and executives on practices in this area. I find that a few key questions addressed up front can make all the difference between good and bad outcomes:

Key questions for boards and managers

  • Leadership: To what degree does your organization seek to have leadership practices in CSR governance?
  • Phasing: What is the preferred timeline for implementation?
  • Explicitness: Does your organization want to be explicit about referencing your CSR commitments in your governance and management procedures?
  • Embedment: Does your organization want to take an embedded or a focused approach? (See CSR Governance Guidelines for a discussion of this.)

To help you get started, I am pleased to share the tool I use to assist organizations to develop good, best or leading practices in sustainable governance and management. This “CSR Governance and Management Assessment” is a free tool for organizations that seek to improve the integration of CSR into corporate governance.

You can use the checklist to conduct a self-assessment of your organization’s approach. Then you can develop a roadmap, work plan or project charter to guide further progress toward sustainability embedment.

As you use this tool to embed sustainability into your board and management practices, please let me know how it works for you so I can continue to improve my resources. Together we can accelerate sustainable business practices and build a better world.

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