Don’t Recreate the CSR Wheel – Learn from Others’ Mistakes

Oct 28, 2010   //   by Colin Manuel   //   Blog, Leadership, Training & Education  //  No Comments

Learn from others' CSR mistakesWhy recreate the CSR wheel when the path has already been charted by others? As a follow-up to our post, Does Your Company Really Need a Corporate Social Responsibility Program?, here are three ways you can learn from others to launch your sustainability initiative early and effectively.

3 Steps to a Strategy that Works for You:

Step1: Read Relevant CSR Reports

It wasn’t very long ago that launching CSR initiatives meant that you had to blaze fresh trails with unknown risks and benefits. Today, we have the benefit of hindsight, as hundreds of people have made thousands of mistakes experimenting with CSR initiatives in every industry imaginable.  Take a minute to read other companies’ CSR reports at the Global Reporting Initiative and you’ll be able to better define your own CSR goals and generate ideas from other programs that worked.

Step 2: Talk to a CSR Manager

Reading reports only gives you a surface level understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility. However, those reports will help you craft better questions to ask real people. By posing questions one-on-one, you’ll get actionable details that will show you where your company can make its greatest CSR impact, today and tomorrow. Create a list of questions similar to those in this Entrepreneur interview with Eva Sage-Gavin on Corporate Social Responsibility at Gap. And if you don’t find a particular contact from reading your reports, scan the names on this list of CSR thought leaders on Twitter.

Step 3: Hire a CSR Pathfinder

Accelerate your impact by bringing in outside expertise to help organize your vision. The insight and frameworks that consulting companies, such as BusinessEarth, provide can accelerate your time to impact. Be sure your advisor understands your particular CSR goals and has a proven track record helping other companies navigate both the tangible and intangible elements of a successful program.

Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon: Balance Between Profits and Doing Good

In order for businesses to be successful in the long run, they must fully integrate sustainability into their core competencies. A CSR program offers the perfect balance between generating profits and doing the right thing.

What are some programs and activities that your company has implemented? Where have you succeeded and where have you stumbled?  We would love to hear about your experiences.  Share your story and we may incorporate into our next post.

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