Thursday, February 4, 2010

CSR or Corporate Sustainability

An interesting article appeared on the Wall Street Journal community discussion area a few days ago, it’s worth checking out – the title “Good Intentions – Corporations Reconsider CSR” was the latest in a shift away from the terminology of CSR to Corporate Sustainability or CS.
It is interesting to see the face of CSR change from a predominantly externally focused perspective (society) to an internal one (corporate sustainability). The systemic focus of CSR or CS obviously shows a dependency whereby the health of one entity is largely if not entirely dependent upon the health of the other. The shift however is pivotal in that the increased focus on a CS perspective compels the organization to examine their approach to society, the environment and the bottom line from a truly strategic perspective rather than an add on that is secondary to day to day operations.
Progressive organizations woke up a long time ago to the fact that the HR department and its various subsets of talent management, succession management, retention and recruitment should not be the poor cousins at the executive table but are key contributors to the success of both short and long term strategy. Will we start to see the Chief Responsibility/Sustainability Officer join the exec table as valued member contributing to strategy?
So, Coke has listed CSR as the second most powerful driver of employee engagement after leadership. What would happen if hands on exposure to CSR initiatives were a pre-requisite for promotions within the leadership ranks? Perhaps then CSR would truly influence the internal machinery of the executive suite.
If someone is looking for such a beast, I happen to know of an innovative new company……
Submitted by Dave Harrhy

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