Sunday 29 March 2015

Who? Me? Responsible for CSR?

Shared Value requires Shared Responsibility:  Whose Responsibility is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Watching some of the discussion on corporate social responsibility it sometimes seems like governments, communities, NGOs and everyone else expects to sit back and have somebody (aka business) deliver CSR to them on a silver platter.


Corporate Social Responsibility is not something a company does to or for communities, governments or others. 

To be successful and sustainable it takes a shared and collective responsibility with all stakeholders.  How could it be any other way?

Yet, far too often we see major stakeholders, governments, communities, NGOs and others, placing all the responsibility on companies, almost as if they expected them to play the role of Government (or Santa Claus). 

Sometimes too, we see companies sitting back and trying to leave the responsibility to other stakeholders, including often other companies or industries.

Neither approach will work very well.
All partners are in the same boat.
If the boat floats all will benefit.  If it sinks everyone gets wet.

Those communities and organizations that are pro-active in organizing and planning CSR activities and sharing in the responsibility with companies, will find that they simply get more value at the end of the day.  And, they will gain more capacity as well, and more ownership over their destiny.

Those companies that take the lead AND have projects where ALL stakeholders take appropriate responsibility will find that more value is created for stakeholders and shareholders.

If CSR is about aligning interests so that more benefits can flow to more stakeholders (including shareholders) how does it make sense that all responsibility should be on the company or other partner to organize and do.

Surely Shared Responsibility is where everyone should be trying to get to.

Let’s assume that through a collaborative consultation process a mining company and local community identified that improvements in education and health were priorities.

  • What is the role and responsibility of the community and local organizations?What is the role and responsibility of local government?
  • What is the role and responsibility of the Sector Ministries (Education & Health)?
  • What is the role and responsibility of the company?
  • What is the role and responsibility of NGOs and other development actors with an interest in education and healthcare?

Think about what the roles and responsibilities should be.  Then think about how the project would normally play out.

This way works:  In successful examples the various stakeholders will all play a proactive part in the overall project, exhibiting leadership, collaboration and initiative as required. 

The project is truly made up of partners, working together and through their collaboration and collective responsibility helping to achieve results that none of them could achieve on their own.

This way, not so much:  In other cases one partner (often business, but not always) is looked at to lead and take the bulk of the responsibility.  Other stakeholders sit back and expect benefits to come to them.  

Regardless of which partner, or partners are left with the bulk of the responsibility, the project won’t succeed nearly as well as if there was a collective sharing of responsibility.
Do your CSR projects sometimes end up looking like this?
Ironically, in projects where the bulk of the responsibility is left to one or two partners, they are the ones that get blamed if things don’t work perfectly. 

Is it any wonder that some get frustrated and, if they keep going, end up frustrated and cynical.

So, Whose Responsibility is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Look at any CSR projects that you are involved in. Is there a collective responsibility?

If not, why not?

And, what will you do to change that and facilitate collective responsibility.

Blaming the partners who have been carrying the responsibility probably isn’t the most productive response.  Training and encouraging all partners to accept a fair share of responsibility is a far better way to go.
Sharing responsibility across partners and stakeholders can drive project success and make the work more fun
 CSR can be an effective mechanism for creating value for society and shareholders.  But, it doesn’t work well for anyone if responsibility and ‘ownership’ is not shared amongst all stakeholders.


To read other CSR Articles and Thoughtpieces by Wayne Dunn click here>>>

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Tweets, posts and thoughts from the past weeks

 A collection of Tweets and Posts from the past weeks.  Some interesting (I hope!).  Some not so much.  Excuse the formatting.  Blogger doesn't seem to like cut and paste.

Global perspectives on CSR in mining. Slides from keynote to BC Mining Forum 2015

Mining schools hi-tech on social value creation! Mining industry’s painful lessons and the progress they’ve made learning them have lots to offer to hi tech as society’s expectations evolve

Drink beer to support climate change!  Perfect plan for St. Patrick’s Day.
24 breweries sign climate change declaration. @triplepundit @leonkaye

Acknowledge progress and push for more  McDonald’s To Source Antibiotic-Free Chicken in USA @gmcheeseman @TriplePundit

Many stakeholders but no winners Great article on Artisanal Mining by Paul Klein in Triple Pundit 

Local Content Success.  now available in #CSR Knowledge Centre #PDAC2015

Dealing with growing social demands in mining  World Bank Panel @PDAC #PDAC2015

Walmart’s sustainability train is barreling down the track!  Jen Boynton  @triple Pundit  Rob Caplan  @robbyk

Stakeholder Engagement Series 
Many of you have asked that I pull together some of my recent publications that deal with stakeholder engagement into a set.  Haven’t quite done that but below you have a list of articles and links to the LinkedIn Posts.

If missing Aboriginal women is a domestic violence issue is ISIS recruiting an adolescent issue? @M_A_W_inCanada

Stakeholder engagement series. 
List of #CSR Thoughtpieces on Stakeholder Engagement from the CSR Knowledge Centre

Is CSR Dead?  Dying, hibernating, irrelevant, or working just fine?  @triplepundit @marcstoiber

CSR Communications
CSR Communications seems to be a hot topic right now so I thought I’d share links to some of our recent related publications.  If interested feel free to read, download and share. 
·       Internal CSR Communications Suck: 
·       7 strategies for engaging internal stakeholders:
·       11 mistakes to avoid in CSR Communications:
·       Eleven strategies for maximizing value from CSR:  

CSR Communications seems hot. Here are 3 short publications. Good, bad & ugly

Internal CSR Communications Suck!  We need to get better at creating internal alignment.  CSR Thoughtpiece posted to Slideshare

Wow Safeway! Sustainable transparent seafood. Trumping Whole Foods.  Great work @triplepundit @JenBoynton

Pay it forward Pizza! Great model. Align business, customer, social and community and make $ @mwartman1

We are really bad @ internal CSR Communications. Should align from planet to shareholder to people in company

Good CSR communications aligns the dots from planet to shareholder to people in company. @RepublicofEvry1 good example

CSR Partnerships. Theory and Practice.  Lecture & Role playing scenario.  Delivered in Nairobi Kenya, Feb 2015

Internal CSR Communications Suck! And us CSR Pros are to blame

Sustainable Brands Seeks Entrepreneurs for Startup Business Competition #CSR

Consumers want to see greater #CSR in the processed #food sector says @globescan consumer report @Foodanddrinkfed

4 strategies for local content success.  Local content can be the best ROI of any CSR investment.  Posted on Slideshare

Until CSR Pros speak ‘What’s in it for them’ to Finance, Ops & Engineering, CSR is a sandbox and toys in the corner of the business!

 The Rise of Sustainable Fibers in the Fashion Industry
Interesting and insightful. By Leon Kaye @ Triple Pundit

Industry, Community & Engagement: Who is responsible? Lecture & Role playing scenario.  Delivered in Nairobi Kenya, Feb 2015

4 strategies for local content success.  Local content can be the best ROI of any CSR investment.  New blog post

8 million tonnes of plastic dumped into oceans each year! Remember, we don’t got another planet.

Industry, community & engagement. Strong, respectful & insightful dialogue on extractives and communities in Kenya. Credit @CanHCKenya @ihrb @KimothoWangui

Big business advocating stronger environmental regulations.  Can Govt keep up?
Interesting discussion in the Guardian. Guardian article by @matt_gitsham

Communication is key whether you’re selling soda or social change.  Effective and appropriate communications can add societal and shareholder value to Corporate Social Responsibility efforts..  Interesting series in the Stanford Social Innovation Review   Also see CSR Communications: 11 mistakes to avoid

Plastic Bank: Plastic waste to $currency!  Brilliant!
Alignment of social, community, environmental and shareholder interests.

Bridgestone's Sustainability Hub: A Dialogue on Solving Survey Fatigue (for itself and others) Great work @bridgestone

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Dirty, ugly mining has lessons for Hi Tech!

Dirty, ugly mining has lessons for Hi Tech!

And Hi Tech should pay attention or it could feel the pain that mining felt when it started getting slammed by a rising tidal wave of social performance expectations.

The mining industry has become relatively good at figuring out how to organize itself to create local benefits and value as a by-product of its core business operations. 

In general mining goes beyond simply meeting regulatory requirements on environment, labour, safety, etc. and is actually creating additional value for local communities through targeted development programs and efforts.

From working with local agricultural producers, to supporting alternative economic opportunities for women to general education and health programming and across a wide-range of other social value areas, the mining industry is reaching out to support people and families in the communities near its operations.

Of course, it is far from perfect and one doesn’t have to look far to find where it has come up short.  But, what is important here is that there are many places where it is succeeding and having meaningful impacts on people, families and communities.

What does this have to do with hi tech?  Lots.

In general the hi tech industry has been paying increasing attention to its supply chain.  To materials sourcing and to the labour, environmental and human rights practices in its supply chain.

This isn’t easy with supply chains spread throughout developed and developing economies and across a range of national regulatory frameworks. 

In many countries the national regulations governing environment, labour standards, health, safety and human rights are below what the hi tech industry’s consumers would consider appropriate.

Many companies have acted to set their own standards in these areas to guide their employees, contractors, sub-contractors and others in their supply chain, essentially establishing a private regulatory framework.

Managing compliance throughout this diffuse network and across its linguistic, cultural and economic diversity is challenging to say the least.  Often the marketplace expectations that drive this private regulatory framework are totally foreign to the people and organizations being asked to apply them.

And now, in the midst of this challenge, more is coming!

Soon companies will be held accountable for a broader social performance expectation.  In addition to meeting global expectations on materials sourcing, health, safety, labour standards, environment and human rights companies will be expected to create social value in the communities in which their supply chain activities take place.

This is where mining has lessons that can be helpful.  Those companies that want to lead, rather than be driven to meet these emerging social value creation expectations should take a close look at what happened in the mining industry. 

The mining industry’s movement to support social value and development was often driven by painful pressures from NGOs, communities and the global public.

As society became more focused on social and environmental performance (starting roughly in the 1990s) the mining industry was an early and relatively easy target.  It had:

·         Large, highly visible and concentrated environmental footprint
·         Legacy of less than stellar environmental performance (some would say terrible)
·         Legacy of social disruption

And the industry wasn’t really prepared to handle the pressure for increased social performance. 

Some balked and resisted.  Many of those lost market cap and even valuable projects as that elusive ‘social license’ evaporated when they were unable to effectively deal with growing social demands on their projects and activities.

But some have thrived.  Some adapted well and have learned to integrate local value creation into their projects and activities.

Today leading mining companies are routinely involved in a wide-ranging suite of social, economic and environmental activities aimed at making life better in the communities in which they operate.

These activities go far beyond mining and encompass a range of health, education, economic/poverty alleviation, agriculture, environment, gender and other activities. 

The major themes of the mining industry’s social value added activities are nearly perfectly aligned with the global development community’s focus areas as defined by the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Hi tech companies have two choices in the face of the emerging expectations to create social value as a result of its supply chain activities.

They can sit back and wait for the pressures to develop further and respond later as pressures build.

Or, they can be proactive and get out ahead of the curve.

For those wanting to get out ahead of the curve the lessons learned in the mining industry can be valuable.