In recent months Ive been talking more widely about the existence of a new social movement of people who are making business and finance contribute to a world that is sustainable and fair. Im talking more with social entrepreneurs and social activists, and I find many people who have a sense of urgency and leadership are surprised at my view, as they regard mainstream CR or CSR as an effort to maintain the corporate status quo, not fundamentally transform it. In response I agree that much CSR is lacking, but I point to those initiatives, projects and people within the corporate world who are working of more systemic transformations of markets – whether through influencing standards, regulations, mindsets or financing systems. Yet, in these conversations, I realise that we dont have a clear set of successes to point to – so many of the examples are about the incredible efforts that people are making, rather than the results being achieved. Any movement needs to know what success looks like. So, it was interesting last month to hear a CR leader, Simon Zadek, ask a class of students to reflect on what they considered real CSR successes to date. I encourage you to reflect on these questions.
What is the most successful multistakeholder initiative and why?
What is the most important piece of CSR legislation, from a CSR perspective?
Think of three CSR CEOs who you believe have demonstrated CSR success, and what have they been successful at?
Think of a civil society leader who has promoted CSR really effectively?
What is it that you still dont know about CSR, and is critical to you future work?
Perhaps you could forward this email to your colleagues in your team, so you can discuss your responses together. I also invite you to post your responses on my blog, at http://jembendell.wordpress.com/
If you are interested in what it could mean for your own work to be part of a CSR movement, I encourage you to get my book on the topic for your organisation’s library. “The Corporate Responsibility Movement”, available from. http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/productdetail.kmod?productid=2767
This message was included in the Lifeworth CSR jobs Bulletin for July. To sign up for that bulletin, issued about once a month, visit http://lifeworth.com/main/sign-up/