How to start CSR in a Corporate in US even if leaders dont care about such issues? What is the best approach for american's managers, VPs and CEO to make them to engage in CSR and be part of that? These are leaders that used to say: in America our customer do not care about environment and social idicators, they want price and quality.
The purpose of a company is to make a profit (in some aspect). My recommendation is that when selling the idea of CSR to executives, you should help them identify and understand the business value of CSR. Not so much focus on the moral obligation to what is right.
To deliver a good price and good quality to customers, a comprehensive CSR plan is vital. For example:
- savings through environmental efficiency drop straight onto the bottom line, reducing price (or increasing profit)
- investing in staff results in more discretionary effort and better customer service (ie, better quality of experience for customers)
- considering the embedded quality of a sustainable product - ie, a product that's been designed to deliver value to the customer thanks to responsible sourcing/manufacture of products.
- listening and engaging with stakeholders enables you to better understand exactly what they expect and need from you as an organisation... etc...
In other words, CSR is often common sense.
It's been said many times before, but profit and CSR aren't opposing forces!
Go for any quick wins you can identify to build their confidence in your proposals. A quick audit across CSR themes will nearly always unearth a nugget or two that was missed internally, even if it is only communicating better what is already being done. Social media is a fantastic tool (when used appropriately & with integrity) for raising such awareness.
I have faced the same problem with my organization (a bank). In fact, I presented the outlines of marketing plan to differentiate us in the market place as well as showing potential cost savings to the company. Also, there would be less tangible benefits i.e., motivating employees to think about these issues. However, the idea was not given an consideration. So I am very interested in seeing others' feedback on your question.
Our company recently conducted a large scale structured stakeholder analysis for one of Sweden's largest banks. The result of the analysis had a huge impact on the executive team. They have now started several initiatives within CSR in order to capitalize on the identified potential to enhance their relational capital and increase the trust for their brand.
I think, that if you can show your execs that your most important (business critical) stakeholders want your company to change towards some direction. And then present them with a solution for how to get there, you will have a lot more leverage.
This recession has contributed to the Swedish financial industry's wakening up to the need to be perceived as more responsible. It is no longer enough to just focus on financial values of their business.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
This is interesting. CR in financial services is really closely connected to your employees - and anything you can do to increase their engagement should be crucial (in terms of getting additional discretionary effort, retaining your staff, and attracting the bright young things into the organisation). Happy to chat further with you about this if you're interested. Cheers, Ben
This is indeed an important issue and my own sense is that it also merits some debate on what would construe as a CSR activity. From my experience various activities can be looked from two lenses -
a. does it create a social impact and
b. does it create a positive business impact.
When we see any activity from these lenses you will find that there is a continuum and various activities (which go under CSR banner generally) can be clubbed under different heads. You will notice that you will move from pure philanthropic activities which is normally seen only as burden by corporates to activities that are make tremendous business sense and also impacts society in a positive way. I would call this Business boosters. You may want to focus on these to begin with. Then there are certain activities which would qualify under business basics. These would be those which a corporation needs to do to 'avoid' a negative backlash on the corporate. Things like fairtrade, non- child labour supply chain, envirnomentally sustainable way of doing business will get included.
Once you start on this way you will find that you will be able to build a decent portfolio of CSR activities and yes, it might make sense to have an agreement with the seniors on pure philanthropic activities as well.
In this world whats needed is a mix of all the above activities and not just one. I feel by building your portfolio in the way suggested, you will have a sustainable way of conducting these activities - otherwise you will always be impacted by the fluctuations of business. In case you need to understand these concepts better - feel free to get in touch.
all the best.
CSR is a tool which needs to be integrated into Corporate business strategy for ethical business objectives. Once this realisation dawns upon the senior management, and the latent pay offs both measurable and immeasurable, of various initiatives correctly appreciated by the key players, then only will CSR become a major driver of development and profit. I presume the basic platform for CSR is common across borders and though India started with the concept of trusteeship, today with the present economic growth, the basic Gandhanian concept has expanded in scope through sustainable engagement with communities making CSR an important area in all business ventures. Hence start CSR with a clear vision and impress upon the top management that if and when CSR becomes a KRA of the company then it must never be delegated to subordinates and must be handled directly by the top management through a single window operation.
Corporate Head - CSR
Jindal Stainless Ltd. (JSL Ltd)
Dear Rajiv Williams
Nice to hear from you the other side of aspect of CSR. I know Jindal since 1978. They are are doing good lot on many community realted apart from profit making. Many may not have understood that Jindal also contributes to the charity that makes many good things move forward. Is it possible to have a few minutes meeting with you if you are palced in Bangalore? We have a Chrity since 25 years working on rehabilitation and community development in Karnataka and Tamilnadu. I have founded in 1984 to rehabilitate and resttle leprosy affected and diabledI am pleased to learn that you have a better understanding and vision to connect profit, trusteeship and CSR.
I know you will be busy. You may write few lines to me please. mean while God bless and strengthen to become an instrument of His service and love.
When you find time please do visit our website www.readcentre.org.in