Tuesday 21 October 2014

Smarter CSR Budgets: Connecting budget to value

Smarter CSR Budgets:  Connecting budget to value

A CSR Thoughtpiece from the CSR Training Institute
-       Wayne Dunn

Are we spending too much, or too foolishly on CSR and sustainability?

With declining prices and often increasing costs in the extractive sector is it time to look at Corporate Social Responsibility budgets and make doubly sure they are connected to both shareholder and social value?

I don’t think we needed to wait for declining prices or increasing costs.  Ensuring CSR budgets and activities are aligned with shareholder and social value is always important, no matter what the sector.

Reviewing your CSR budgets and activities with an eye to improved efficiency in delivering shareholder and social value is a good investment for your company, and your career.

It should be done regularly, it should be done systematically, it should have a laser-like focus on shareholder and social value and, at least periodically, it should be done by an outsider (or internal newcomer) that can bring dispassionate and experienced fresh eyes to the exercise.

While there is not a cookie cutter approach to this analysis I have found that some ways work better than others.

A methodology that I’ve found works well is set out below.  Of course, every application of this methodology needs to be adapted to properly fit the situation.

The methodology focuses on identifying key issues and values for shareholders and stakeholders and analyzing the current CSR and stakeholder programming in relation to those issues and value.

It focuses tightly on shareholder and social/stakeholder value and how they connect to CSR and stakeholder programming budgets.

It will often identify redundancies, synergies, risks, strategic opportunities and new partnership potential.

It is a fairly simplistic approach, which I have found makes it more usable and ultimately produces better results.

But, you need to resist the urge to over-analyze.  There might be comfort in making long lists and answers to each questions.  But, that is seldom the best use of your time or your company’s resources.

Do the analysis quickly and see what the results are.  When you see the results you should know if they look and feel right, or if you need to go back and do a deeper analysis, or ask more/different questions.

The key issue throughout all the steps below is value. 

Shareholder/business value and social/stakeholder value.  They are what should connect the CSR budget, issues, stakeholders and programs.

If there is a value disconnect it needs to be addressed.

The focus of the process presented below is to identify value disconnects and also value efficiencies across issues, stakeholders and programs. 

The outcome is an overall CSR program that is more efficient at delivering value to shareholders and stakeholders.

1.     What are the business issues that the CSR budget needs to address?

List and group the issues.

There should be a direct connection between CSR spending and business issues.  Every penny of the budget should connect back to a business issue.

In general the business issues will group around or across themes such as risk, value/opportunity, reputational/brand, etc.

There may be some that don’t fit neatly in or across these areas but your intuition and experience will probably suggest how they should be grouped

2.     What are the social/stakeholder issues that the CSR budget needs to address?

List and group the issues.

In the same way that CSR spending needs to connect directly to business issues it also needs to connect directly to social and stakeholder issues.  It is all about the alignment of these interests.

Social and stakeholder issues, especially in developing economy contexts, can often be grouped along the Millennium Development Goal / Sustainable Development Goal key themes of poverty reduction, education, healthcare, environment and gender

There may be some that don’t fit in these groupings so, same as with the business issues, let your intuition and experience guide you in grouping and organizing them.

As you identify and organize issues be sure to identify the stakeholders and their interests that link with the issues.  There will seldom be an issue that does not link with one or more stakeholder groups.

3.     Are there any other issues that the CSR budget should be addressing?

Sometimes there are additional issues that might not seem to be social or stakeholder issues but that you think should be addressed by the CSR budget/program.

Make a list of them and, if it makes sense, group and organize them.  If there aren’t any that is good too

4.     Review and analyze these issues

Take a quick, but consistent look at the issues identified above. 

Don’t spend a ton of time on it, but enough to get a sense of key issues and, most importantly, their connection to shareholder and social/stakeholder value.

Below are some questions that I’ve found helpful for doing a quick but consistent examination of issues.
·       Did it change in importance over time?  
                                               i.     Was this issue on the radar last year? 
                                             ii.     Was it more or less important?
·       How does this issue connect to shareholder value?
·       How does it connect to social/stakeholder value?
·       Who else is interested in the issue (possible partners/collaborators/synergy)?

5.     Make a list of CSR and stakeholder programs and activities

This list should already exist and be up to date but, surprisingly, it is often a bit of a scramble to get it together.

In my experience this is because there is seldom an overall strategic CSR plan that guides the development and implementation of CSR and stakeholder programs.

Without a strategic plan to serve as a guide CSR programs and activities often evolve ad-hoc in reaction to various issues and events

At any rate, if a list already exists use it, but check it to make sure it has all the programs and activities on it.  If there isn’t a list you need to make one (and be sure it is kept up – it is important for many reasons).

6.     Identify value, issues and interests for each CSR program and activity

This is where the gaps start to appear, and the efficiency and synergy potential.  It is actually the most exciting part.

It is where this sort of systematic approach can identify exciting opportunities.

But, first you need to go through the list of CSR programs and activities and for each one list:
·       All the issues that it addresses (shareholder, stakeholder and social issues);
·       The stakeholders and their interests that it addresses; and
·       The value it creates or preserves.

When you finish this exercise you should start to have a good sense of how each program and activity connects to value; to shareholder value and to social and stakeholder value.

7.     Identify CSR programs and activities for each issue

Yes.  I know it seems redundant but it is important.

When you finish this step you will have
·       A program centric perspective where you can see all the issues and interest that each program addresses
·       An issues centric perspective where you can see all the programs that address each issue.

8.     Review and analyze the issues perspective and the program perspective

This analysis will let you see which issues have the most attention from programs and which programs address the most issues.

You have already connected the issues to value and interest dimensions so you can bring that into the analysis.

Add in budget considerations to be able to see the resourcing going towards the various issues, interests and groups.

I’ve found that some questions can help with this analysis
·       Are there important issues that may not be getting enough program or budget attention?
·       Are there issues that seem to be getting too much program and budget attention?
·       Are there CSR programs and activities that have little connection to shareholder and social/stakeholder value?
·       Are there opportunities for synergy across issues and interests?
·       Are we making full use of partnerships?

There are normally project/business specific questions that would be used as well.

What is important is to do it systematically, but quickly and think through what the analysis tells you.

Too often what may have started as a good project and with a solid management framework can end up being an inefficient spend of budget and time.  Things change.

Legacy projects can end up carrying over from year to year to year without serious analysis to see if they are still the best way to deliver value for shareholders and society.

When you have completed this process you will have a good sense of the current connection between issues, value and programs.

In most cases the outcomes from this process will include:
·       Wind-up and closure of programs that are no longer producing value (sometimes because other programs are just more efficient at addressing the issues and creating value);
·       Consolidation of some programs and activities to achieve synergies and a better relationship of impact to budget;
·       Identification of partnership opportunities;
·       Identification of issues that are simply getting more attention than they warrant.

Of course, this process will not address all CSR budget issues, nor will it work as a cookie cutter approach to be applied to every company and project.

It is intended as a guide to facilitate a systematic approach to a strategic review of CSR programs and budgets. 

Most users will add their own tweaks and customization.  That is good.

The overall intent is to help make CSR spending and activities more efficient at creating shareholder and stakeholder value.

To see other Thoughtpieces and articles by Wayne click here>>>

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Sunday 19 October 2014

CSR and Value:

This was originally posted in Triple Pundit in Feb 2014.  I am reposting it here as it is part of my collection of writings on Where business meets society.

At some point, likely soon, I will do more writing on CSR and Value and include some of the additional frameworks and tools beyond the value continuum.

What I think is important about the content below is that it presents a more nuanced and, I believe, useful model of how to think about value in the space where business meets society than does the more traditional Shared Value model.

Of course, I am far from objective on this!  I hope you will read it and form your own opinion.

The CSR Value Continuum: From Value Distribution to Shared Value Creation
Originally posted in Triple Pundit | Tuesday February 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment

By Wayne Dunn

That is the reaction I received two weeks ago after sending a note about my value-centric approach to CSR and highlighting the economic sustainability inherent in CSR projects that have robust value propositions that can align the social, economic and developmental interests of companies, communities, shareholders and other stakeholders.

CSR is a complex, evolving and exciting area that is finding new ways to create and distribute value. Simultaneously, the language and frameworks around CSR are evolving rapidly and helping executives, practitioners and academics with practice and understanding. We are all learning and none of us is an “expert.” I want to share some of my thoughts on CSR, shared value and a framework that has helped me to be more effective in this space.

The concept of shared value has been eloquently described with powerful voices that have done well to help business and society understand what it is, to think about how to develop it and realize the compelling value propositions that it can create. Professor Michael Porter and his team, through their work, their writing and the gravitas they carry, have helped many to see and think about business differently. As they wrote, shared value “generates opportunity, innovation, and competitive advantage for corporations—while solving pressing social problems.” To my thinking, this makes shared value an important aspect of CSR and good business strategy.

I believe that we do a disservice to business and corporate social responsibility if we place shared value actions outside of the scope of CSR, and I don’t think this is what Professor Porter and others intended at all.

I’ve spent a couple of decades developing, analyzing, evaluating and supporting CSR-related projects and programs around the world and across industries and sectors. Working on more than 60 projects in that time, I’ve developed some frameworks and tools that I find very helpful to allow me to analyze and understand specific situations and strategies. One I nearly always use is the CSR Value Continuum. It helps to look at the various CSR programs, projects and initiatives that a company is doing and place them on a continuum ranging from value distribution through to value creation.

Clearly, shared value is at the value creation end of this continuum, focused on finding those opportunities where 1+1=3; identifying value propositions that can align corporate, stakeholder, community, environment and other interests — creating new value by making the pie larger. At the other end of the continuum are value distribution actions. 

These too are important. They are where companies share or distribute value in a voluntary and strategic manner so that communities, stakeholders, environment and other interests receive new value,and some level of value is created for the company through goodwill, reputational capital, social license enhancement, etc. Notice that at both ends of the continuum the actions produce value for the company, that there is some alignment of shareholder and stakeholder interest. If there wasn’t, why on earth would the company do them?

The mistake that people sometimes make is to assume that those CSR projects and initiatives that are at or closer to the value creation end are necessarily more important, that companies should do more of these and less of other projects. The full range of CSR actions — grants, donations, scholarships, education, training, community development, environmental restoration, local institutional development, local infrastructure, employment and skills development, local procurement and business development — are all important tools.They can be important for the company and for local stakeholders.

Depending on the specifics of each one, they will situate differently on the continuum. But in general something like grants, donations and scholarships would fit more towards the value distribution end of the continuum, while local procurement and business development would tend to be closer to the value creation end. The value continuum is useful in revealing to companies how their actions fall on a distributive-to-creative scale, and this understanding can help both strategically and tactically to optimize value return from CSR investments.

Companies and projects stand to maximize benefit by consciously thinking of their CSR projects and activities in terms of the value continuum and have a spectrum of activities that span the continuum. This benefit includes discovering new strategies and opportunities for creating and capturing more value from existing activities — opportunities which risk being overlooked if focussing only on one end of the spectrum.

CSR is a complex and evolving field. There are some great projects and great innovations happening, and value is being created in exciting and innovative ways. I’ve found that practical tools and frameworks like the value continuum can help companies and practitioners to enhance their understanding of the value aspects of their CSR activities and to be more efficient at creating and distributing value.

Wayne Dunn is a Professor of Practice in CSR at McGill University in Canada (he calls himself an accidental academic). He has over two decades of practical experience in CSR at all levels and all over the world. His work has been used for a Stanford Case Study and has won many awards including the first ever private sector project to win a World Bank Development Innovation Award. He is currently the Executive Director of the CSR Training Institute and is developing and delivering Executive Programs around the world. He is a Stanford Business School Sloan Fellow and lives on Vancouver Island in Canada. He can be reached at wayne@csrtraininginstitute.com.

Comment by Sebastien Mazzuri, FSG• 

Dear Prof. Dunn,

Thank you for your insightful post. It is clear to me that successful social engagement from corporations requires a portfolio of initiatives, which will be positioned at different levels along the “CSR Value Continuum” you are describing. And I also agree that language and frameworks are helping stakeholders with practice and understanding.

For this latter reason, one of the potential challenges I see with using a continuum is that it does not make it easy to communicate some of the key differences between the examples of corporate social engagement you provide. In particular, the strength of the link between social and business value creation is very different at both ends of your spectrum. My experience and that of my colleagues at FSG, especially with a corporate audience, is that there is value in drawing a clear line somewhere to better spell out the characteristics of these different forms of corporate social engagement; in particular, why companies engage, what value is being created, how and at what cost for the business.

With shared value, it is possible to communicate information that is i) forward-looking (companies know what social outcomes they are after), ii) directly linked to business financial indicators (it is about increasing sales or market share or reducing costs, all of which will be showing in the P&L), and iii) data-driven (companies have usually invested a lot in quantifying the social opportunity as a market, and they should develop a measurement strategy to document value creation with hard facts). This is more difficult to do in the case of product donations for example, or compliance with a set of ESG standards. Companies are doing these for good reasons but the link to business value creation through such factors as increased employee engagement or brand recognition is more elusive and harder to quantify – as you implicitly point out.

There are many frameworks that can be used to categorize these different types of initiatives, and I am sure that the idea of a “CSR Value Continuum” resonates well with some audiences. What I simply want to emphasize here is that I feel it is important to also go one step further and clearly articulate, one way or another, the key differences between different forms of corporate social engagement. This can only help executives, practitioners and academics accelerate the adoption of these principles for the greater good.

Regards, Sebastien Mazzuri, FSG

Response by Author (Wayne Dunn)
Dear Mr. Mazzuri

Many thanks for your informative comment.  My apologies for the delay in responding but I have been active on field work and CSR projects.

You raise some interesting points and I suspect that our models and frameworks may have much more in common than our discussion would suggest.  I think I may not have communicated clearly in my article as I certainly didn’t intend for a reader such as yourself to interpret that I was referring to only product donations or ESG compliance. In fact, I believe that tools such as the continuum do exactly what you explain is necessary - they help to understand and communicate better - so please let me try to clarify this.

I agree totally on the importance of establishing metrics that are linked to corporate objectives and in effective management of progress towards those objectives.  I’ve been around this space for a long time and recall too well the days when many firms measured their CSR in terms of dollars spent, rather than value created.  Metrics and systematic management has been a consistent theme in my CSR field work, writings and lectures since the 1990s

I see CSR as being predominantly about value; value-distribution, value-creation, shared-value between company and community, value over time, etc and in my work I’ve found it useful to have a range of tools and frameworks (buckets, continuums, etc) that help to better understand and communicate various aspects of value and optimize value-creation for the company and other stakeholders.  Relationships are also critical to realizing latent value but that is another discussion.

I’ve long been an advocate for more systematic and quantifiable approaches to CSR strategy and management.  Beginning in the 1990s I was helping companies and communities to develop and implement systems that would make management of CSR more efficient and easier to communicate and manage.  In 1999 I authored and delivered the first paper on CSR and management that was ever presented at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metalurgy and Petroleum (CIM)  http://www.slideshare.net/waynedunn/beyond-beads-n-trinkets-cim-conference-paper-1999

A core part of this paper illustrates my wholehearted agreement about the importance of being able to differentiate various actions and activities. In my experience (which stretches over 2+ decades, across all continents and includes corporate, community, government, NGO and indigenous audiences) continuums and other related frameworks are actually more effective at communicating differentiation than the more rigid ‘bucket’ systems. 

I have found that, while bucket frameworks can undoubtedly be helpful, there can often be blurred or confusing lines between different buckets (where does philanthropy stop and CSR begin, or CSR stop and Shared Value begin? And why?) and that a single set of buckets can create an artificial hierarchy that can make whole system optimization more difficult to achieve.

For example, if a company were to create a scholarship fund to train engineers, a program to support science and math in schools, and give support for a University and college to improve their ability to educate and train indigenous peoples from remote areas, I am sure we would agree that this would fall into your Philanthropy bucket and be at the value distribution end of my CSR Value Continuum. However, by applying a second framework, one that looks at the ability of the CSR Investment to continue to produce value over time, a more nuanced and useful perspective can emerge.  

Over time you have on ongoing increase in local workers who are capable of working at professional and managerial levels, and an overall improvement in the capacity of local and regional education to produce well-trained professional workers from the project area.  So, while the CSR spending was initially philanthropic and more about value-distribution, over time the results seem to move down the CSR Value Continuum towards value creation.  

And, unlike some CSR spending that is a pure expense in that the value created is used up and gone in short order, this type performs more like an asset, returning value over successive time periods.   In this case the use of multiple frameworks enables proponents to communicate more clearly how what seems like an initial philanthropic, value-distribution act can actually produce longer term, sustainable value creation (shared-value bucket).

I’ve found that a uni-dimensional, hierarchical bucket type of system, or indeed almost any framework if used  by itself, could easily lead to the rejection of strategic activities such as the example above and that a set of frameworks, that could include continuums, buckets and other tools, can be of much more practical and strategic use.  A recent short lecture that I presented has some additional examples of the tools and frameworks http://www.slideshare.net/waynedunn/csr-its-all-about-value  and the full set as well as many other aspects of CSR is covered in our Executive Program on CSR Strategy and Management (http://www.csrtraininginstitute.com)

[Incidentally, the above example is taken from the development of the Saskatchewan Uranium mining industry, one of the most successful examples of extractive sector CSR with Indigenous peoples that I have ever seen – see http://www.slideshare.net/waynedunn/cameco-community-relations-report-1998 for more information]

I hope I have been able to explain more clearly how the continuum is just one of a series of frameworks and tools that we teach and use.  Developed over time and based on both practical field experience and theoretical modeling and analysis, they allow for a nuanced and practical view of CSR and value. We’ve found that some of them apply better in one situation than another, that some fit some companies and industries better than others but, in their totality, they provide a useful set of tools for companies, practitioners and stakeholders and can accommodate a multi-faceted view of value.  And this helps immensely with managing and communicating value and strategy around social engagement and CSR

Thanks again for contributing to this discussion.  I agree that there are many frameworks and tools and that some will resonate better with some audiences than with others.  None of us have all the answers and we are all learning as we work to help improve the efficiency of value creation in the space where corporate and community interests meet.

All the very best,  Wayne

Saturday 18 October 2014

From Hockey to business meets society

Just had a discussion on the new 'Rogers' look to hockey in Canada (for non-Canadian/non-hockey interested readers - Rogers media just made a mega billion deal for hockey broadcast rights in Canada)

A friend suggested the old game was better.

I like some parts of the modern game for sure.  But, to me the whole issue is about the idolization of sports and entertainment figures (OK, sports figures have been turned into entertainment figures).

How can we justify a society that will exuberantly give tens and hundreds of millions of dollars to entertainment figures (and sometimes many billions), and vehemently resist taxes that would support education, health and elder-care, community infrastructure, environmental management, etc.

To me that is the real issue and our failure to come to terms with it is likely to take our civilization down.  Not this week, not this year, probably not this decade.  Maybe not in the next few decades.  But, to me the writing is on the wall unless we do something.

And, of course, I may be totally wrong.  I may have just become one of those grumpy old men, looking at everything pessimistically.   Or, maybe, I'm just having a pessimistic day.

Anyway, I’ve chosen a small piece – where business meets society – and will be writing and working in that space to try to help business to create shareholder and social value simultaneously.

I'm not sure that I'll make any difference working in this small corner of the issue, but at least I'll be engaged - and so far I've managed to meet and engage with a lot of interesting people in the process.  

What are you doing?

Eight self-interested steps to creating a CSR Program

Eight self-interested steps to creating a CSR Program

A CSR Thoughtpiece from the CSR Training Institute
-          By Wayne Dunn

Self-interest = ‘What’s in it for me?’  This is the true heart of CSR and stakeholder engagement.  How could it be otherwise? Why would companies, individuals, communities and others not act in their own interest? 

CSR is simply about finding ways to align those self-interests. It is about finding ways that you can win by helping other stakeholders to win too.  It is about aligning interests so that others win when you win.  So that you win when others win.

CSR:  Simple, but far from easy.

Here are eight steps to creating a CSR program.  They all concern self-interest.

They will help you to create an ‘interest landscape’ which will help you plan a successful CSR program.

But as you read through the list keep your own thinking hat on.  These are not all of the answers; and each could be discussed in much more detail than I do here.

As you read them you may find yourself thinking of additional steps, or disagreeing with some of these.  That is perfect!  Make it your own.  Take what you like and leave the rest.

1.      Admit that it is all about self-interest, the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question
Sure, this is uncomfortable.  It’s easy to think it is those other people who are just in it for themselves.

Meanwhile many of us are working in this space because we truly care about others and want the world to be a better place.

But our motivation can be our own self-interest. It’s what we want; for things to be better, for others to benefit, for the world to be a better and fairer place.  

That is OK. Feeling good about yourself and the outcome is what is in it for you. That’s your own self-interest.

I suspect if we are honest we have more self-interest than that.  But, it doesn’t matter.  The simple truth is nobody and no company is going to do CSR if it isn’t somehow in their self-interest.  Why would they?

The essence of CSR and stakeholder engagement is really quite simple.  It is ’What’s in it for me?’

2.      Find out who else cares.  Or should or could care.  Make a list.
Identify who might win or lose if your business or project is successful.  Who is definitely affected?  Who might be affected?

These are the people who will also ask ‘What’s in it for me?’ and you need to be prepared and have thought about ‘What’s in it for them?’.

This step is critical.  And don’t just limit yourself to the obvious. 

When identifying stakeholders, boldly go far beyond where others stop. Your most perfect and influential ally might be lurking way out there (see point six in Six best practices in stakeholder engagement for an interesting example of this – open>>).

However, listing them at this step doesn’t necessarily mean you need to engage with them.  You just want to make your list as broad as possible at this point.

3.      What’s in it for them?
Now go through your list asking “What’s in it for them? Good or bad?”  Make a list of how your success, or failure, would affect the stakeholders on the list.

Go back over the list again and push the boundaries.  Ask “What might be in it for them?  What could be in it for them?”  Be crazy, be creative. Think beyond the obvious.

No idea is wrong at this point.  Push the horizons.  The gem may lay on the far horizon and if you don’t push you’ll miss it and leave a lot of value on the table.

4.      What are their biggest wants/needs?
This time go through your list again and think what might be the biggest wants and needs of each stakeholder. 

Don’t confine yourself to whether or not the want or the need is related to your business.

5.      Where does What’s in it for me? meet What’s in it for them?
This is about finding the interest intersections that are a critical part of the Interest Landscape.

Go through your list, stakeholder by stakeholder, and look to see where/if your interests meet theirs; whether positively or negatively.  Even tangentially.

Apply creativity, insight and anything else you can think of to the interest intersections to find and release value

6.      Learn the Interest Landscape;

Group, arrange and re-arrange the stakeholder interests

Of course it had to get boring sometime, but, this step is crucial! It will allow you to see and understand the interest landscape in vivid detail. 

The better you understand it, the better your chance of meeting interests in a way that creates a value multiple

There is no magic here.  Some of the stakeholders will have the same or similar interests.  Some will have complimentary interests.  Some will have opposing interests. 

Sometimes two stakeholders may have common, complementary and opposing interests, all at the same time.

The point is that by analyzing stakeholder interests you will get an understanding of the interest landscape as it relates to your business.

Remember, much of the success of CSR and stakeholder engagement rests on efficient and effective alignment of interests.  The better you understand the interest landscape the better your chances of success.

7.      What’s in it for me?  (Again!)
At last – this is where you look through the interest landscape you have created, examine the natural intersections, positive and negative, and ask yourself some questions which will help you to understand and evaluate various actions you might take.

·         What are the stakeholder interests that will be naturally supported by the success of your venture?

·         What are the stakeholder interests that, no matter how hard or creatively you try, just have nothing to do with your business?

·         What are the stakeholder interests that, at first glance, are harmed by your business?

Now, set aside those interests that have nothing to do with your business. They’re beyond your control of influence.

Put your creative hat on and go through those interests that would seem to be harmed by your business.  See if there is any way that you might do things differently, or the stakeholders may do things differently that would eliminate or mitigate the negative impact.

Prioritize those interests that are naturally supported by your business.  When prioritizing be sure to keep value in mind. 

·         The value of the interest to society at large;
·         The value to the stakeholder(s); and
·         The value of the affected stakeholders to your business (how much can they support or hinder your social license and business operations).

Do the same for those interests that, at first glance, are negatively affected by your business.

Working from the highest priorities of both the negative and positive impacts look for opportunities to accentuate the positive and mitigate the negative. 

In other words, what does it take to make the positive impacts stronger and the negative impacts less?  Maybe you can even find a way to replace a negative impact with a positive one. 

When doing this, remember to think about natural partners (see point four in Six best practices in stakeholder engagement for how to think about this – open>>).

Repeat the above steps often.  Do it alone, do it with internal partners, involve external partners and stakeholders.  Bring in fresh sets of eyes (yes, consultants can be very helpful here!). 

The more work you do on understanding the interest landscape, the more value you will find for you and for the stakeholders.

As you review and analyze the interest landscape the basic elements in a CSR plan will emerge.

Use this as the basis for developing your CSR and stakeholder plans, programs and activities.

8.      CSR and stakeholder engagement are about business efficiency and value too!
Successful businesses are those that, amongst other things, are able to optimize the value of output in relation to the cost of input.  In other words, they are the most effective at getting things done efficiently.

CSR and stakeholder engagement is no different.  This isn’t a do-gooders game.  This is about the interests of the business and the shareholders. 

It is about creating value.  Creating value for shareholders and creating value for society, efficiently and concurrently.

Be efficient.  Look for those activities and leverage points that create the most value for stakeholders at the least cost of time and money for the business. 

Look for ways to have more positive impacts with less resources.  (Hint:  Partners are great for this.)

You can read another article I’ve written about the CSR Value Continuum and how all CSR activities can be looked at along a continuum from value distribution to value creation (see it here). 

This and other tools can help you to analyze your CSR and stakeholder engagement in terms of value efficiency.  And, believe me, value efficiency in CSR is in your self-interest!

*note to formatter* - this is the wind-up conclusion piece – be sure to separate it from the numbered pieces
The steps in this list won’t give you all of the answers but will hopefully stimulate you to think creatively and find some new and exciting answers for the challenges you are facing in CSR and Stakeholder Engagement

My own self-interest
Sorry, I couldn’t resist! The main purpose of this article and of all the CSR Thoughtpieces is to stimulate thinking and, hopefully action.  Many of the answers lie within us and if this or any other article helps you to find them, that serves my self-interest!

You see, there are no experts; we are all learning.  Learning from and with each other.  Learning from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. I’ve learnt a lot from the feedback I’ve gotten from readers of my CSR Thoughtpiece series.  Please do me the favour of giving me any feedback or insights you have.  Feel free to do it privately or publicly.

Our self-interest is served if we can help ourselves and help others to make the doing of CSR more effective.

To see other Thoughtpieces and articles by Wayne click here>>>

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