The response of organisations to the economic, environmental and social challenges, in short, sustainability challenges of the 21st Century will determine their future success. Furthermore, corporate social responsibility initiatives can focus business on realising its full potential, economically, environmentally and socially.
Evidence has been mounting that innovative collaborations between business, civil society and governments significantly accelerate positive progress towards sustainable development goals.
We have come a long way regarding environmental initiatives but social responsibility is notoriously difficult and prone to a ‘philanthropic’ approach to corporate giving. We know that environmental, economic and social sustainability is inextricably linked and yet, we keep thinking and acting in silos.
For CSR initiatives to survive economic downturns and provide long lasting benefits for the company and the rest of society they need to be ‘business case aligned’ – in other words, make business sense. CSR initiatives need to be sophisticated and align themselves with the large social concerns in and be relevant at a local, national and international level.
There is a time and place for everything and a public company responsible to shareholders is no place for a spray and pray mentality of giving: spray some money around and pray it does some good. That type of feel good giving should be reserved for us to do with our private money.
Good examples for business case aligned CSR intiatives are banking industry and financial literacy and microfinance; the insurance industry and safety; the communications industry and access to information and many more. My favorite developments are collaborations between competitors and programmes that are aligned with the Millennium Development Goals.
My views have been formed on the bases of many years of experience in taking business case aligned CSR initiatives from conception to sucessful implementation and I have been teaching others to do the same. If you would like to obtain further information or need assistance in setting up your own programme, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.