Sunday, April 30, 2006Methods for embedding CR
By Jason Sumner, Melcrum Publishing
To truly align corporate responsibility with the business strategy, the concept of CR must be embraced from the top down and bottom up, with buy-in from the CEO and board members to frontline staff.
Here are five top ways to embed CR successfully:
1. Use formal and informal methods for a progressive and employee-supported CR strategy: Formal processes include setting up appropriate governance frameworks, systems and processes to ensure CR is integrated into policies and practices. Informal methods include implementing non-systematic and ad hoc (but no less important) techniques to gain genuine buy-in from employees rather than lip-service.
2. Get top-level ownership: CEO and board commitment is critical to an effective governance framework. "A lot of sustainability issues require people to think in different ways than they've done before," says Emma Herd, senior advisor, CR and sustainability, Westpac. "The quickest way to get people to engage is to have the CEO and the board providing the appropriate incentives."
3. Create cross-functional advisory groups: Sustainability issues are always cross-functional and there needs to be regular forums to discuss those cross-functional issues. There's much more value in having everyone involved from start to finish, rather than one part of the business to own it solely. Create advisory groups where different aspects of the business, such as the board and major stakeholders, different management tiers and employee groups can meet periodically.
4. Include CR in performance reviews: There isn't a better way to truly embed CR than make mangers directly responsible for sustainability-related objectives and then measure their progress. You can measure this by official methods, meeting targets on water usage, recycling and so on, to unofficial methods such as rewarding and recognizing environmental initiatives or community volunteering by individuals or groups.
5. Measure your progress: As well as setting group executive metrics for the company, it's vital to measure employee perceptions. If you run an annual employee survey, ensure it contains CR questions year on year.
Adapted from, Embedding CR at Westpac, in the current issue of Corporate Responsibility Management.
By Stuart Blake, Lucid Connections
When CR first emerged, few companies approached it in a strategic fashion. But a recent survey of FTSE 250 companies has revealed a great deal of progress in corporate attitudes and it's also revealed some of the practical issues facing professional communicators. Of respondents to the survey, 85 percent said corporate responsibility was "very important" or "critical" to their commercial success. Further results give some valuable insight:
· 62 percent cited "business sustainability" as a driver for CR in their company. This demonstrates that CR, if used correctly, helps a company to be better aware of its non-financial risks and trends.
· 52 percent of respondents listed "complying with legislation" as another key driver for CR. Despite a lack of clear CR legislation, there are many other laws, the most obvious being environmental, that companies have to abide by and would deem to fall under the term "CR."
· 59 percent of respondents cited the integration of CR into mainstream management processes as their most significant challenge. That this issue exists is a clear example of how CR has progressed. Previously, CR may have been on the job-list for the "honesty department at head office." Now, CR is the job for everyone in the business.
· 43 percent cited CR as a motivation for attracting and retaining the best staff. This shows that CR has the potential to inspire and, if an organization works with rather than against the prevailing ways of doing things, CR can become a factor in every business decision.
· 81 percent said NGOs were the most difficult stakeholder group to engage with. Given the scope and diversity of NGOs, effective communication can be especially complicated, thus leading to problems. There are often different needs, different expectations, and very different agendas.
Excerpted from, The changing role of CR: A strategic opportunity in the current issue of Corporate Responsibility Management.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006Going green at Fujitsu-Siemens Computer
Two new European Union directives, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) governing the manufacture ad recycling of electrical goods, mean products must now be designed with environmental consciousness in mind.
But at Fujitsu-Siemens computers, Augsburg, Germany, they've already made substantial savings in all areas of production, from power consumption to recycling and the level of waste material:
* Fujitsu-Siemens' Paderborn recycling facility can already recycle 98 percent of all received computer materials - well above the 75 percent required by the WEEE directive. Material can now be separated into 50 different groups.
* The Augsburg plant has reduced power consumption by 60 percent due reductions in component testing (a one percent reduction in power consumption is equivalent to the power used by fifty, one-family houses over the course of a year).
* 850,000 liters of water per year have been saved by using a new soldering process for the main computer circuit boards (equivalent to five, one-family houses over the course of a year).
* Use of lead on main circuit boards has been reduced from 12 grams to less than 3 grams, saving 4.5 tons of lead per year.
* Waste has been reduced by roughly 70 percent through optimization of packaging, waste and component recycling.
Excerpted from "Green Product development at Fujitsu-Siemens" in the April/May 2006 issue of Corporate Responsibility Management.
Over the last few years, John Elkington's metaphor of the Triple Bottom Line has proved a sustainable definition for corporate responsibility. But too often management cannot understand how it can be applied or, companies try to apply their CR approach and policies to the TBL concept, when they should actually be doing the reverse and applying the TBL to their company.
It's important to realise there is no "one-size-fits-all" CR policy and any company that thinks otherwise should be aware that such an approach would be damaging to CR initiatives in many ways, rather than these initiatives creating value for companies.
Here are six top tips to developing a unique CR profile for your company, using the Triple Bottom Line metaphor and a framework called the "18 Ps":
1. Responsibility: People - Planet - ProfitA company should specify which responsibilities it has, or wants to take up actively, on each pillar of the TBL and, what the relationship is between People and Planet on the one side, and Profit on the other. With non-financial responsibilities, it should establish if it's best to place an emphasis on either People or Planet and what the balance between the different pillars is.
2. Philosophy: Purpose - Principles - PragmatismThere should be a clear philosophy behind an active engagement in CR that guides corporate action. Part of this philosophy is the purpose or mission of the company: why does the company exist? Also, a company should make explicit the values that the company's built on and wants to pursue (principles). Third, the business case of CR for the company should be made clear in a pragmatic way. The European Corporate Sustainability Framework (ECSF) may be instrumental in determining the dominant CR philosophy by specifying the nature of the ambition a company has with CR: is it compliance-driven, business case-driven, community-driven, or innovation-driven?
3. Inclusivity: Priority - Participation - PartnershipThe notion of inclusivity refers to the importance of the inclusion of CR into the company's activities and to the practical organization of CR. Priority means that CR should be part of corporate agendas in terms of the strategic agenda, but also in a more practical stance such as agendas for meetings, communication and planning within and between the company's departments. CR should be an integral part of doing business and corporate behaviour.
4. Development: Progress - Perspective - PerformanceIn the development of its CR profile, a company should show the progress made in the process of realizing the CR profile in order to keep engaging people inside and outside the organization. It should make clear what the long-term perspective is by communicating a clear vision or ambition. Also, to enable further development, it's necessary to develop measures (preferably informed by stakeholder expectations), to set ambitious but not unrealistic goals, and to monitor the company's performance on these measures.
5. Integration: Product - Process - ProfileHere, it's the scope of CR within the company that should be determined. In terms of products and processes, the question is if CR is about bringing a sustainable product on a niche market or about integrating sustainability into all business processes (so that the regular products are produced in a responsible way). Or should the company be striving to profile itself on a company-level with CR through which it can for instance build a brand name based on CR?
6. Accountability: Personnel - Proprietors - PublicFinally, CR is about being willing and able as a company to account for CR initiatives and be held accountable for the claims it makes. A company should decide if and to what extent it wants to account for its actions internally and externally. It should also determine which instruments lend themselves best for these purposes.
Excerpted from "Developing a unique CR profile" by Lars Moratis and Sacha Mulder, Netherlands CSR Academy, in the April/May 2006 issue of Corporate responsibility Management.
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