We have decided to publish a series of 8 press releases, along with blog articles, providing organizations with a checklist of questions they can ask to easily identify potential improvement areas in the sustainability/CSR management.
The first one focuses on the overall CSR strategy, and is divided into 6 main themes:
1 – Is the management engaged?
2 – Are employees involved?
3 – Are stakeholders consulted?
4 – Is the sustainability strategy intertwined with the overall strategy?
5 – Is a mechanism review implemented to measure the efficiency of the strategy?
6 – Does the company communicate about the CSR program?
The above points should ensure that the CSR/sustainability program is efficient.
First, the management needs to understand the importance of such topics, at least in terms of risks and opportunities. It is better to assign dedicated roles and responsibilities to make sure that topics are taken into account.
To ensure the success of the CSR program, it is important that employees are aware of such programs and can actively take part in it. Employees are the ambassadors of the company, which means that they can influence the reputation of the company. Also, such initiatives can reinforce their motivation.
Third, all stakeholders (not only management or employees) need to be consulted and engaged as the role of CSR is to manage impacts towards them. Their opinions and ideas are thus required.
From a strategical standpoint, the CSR program makes even more sense when it is embedded in the overall strategy. In this sense, organizations can prioritize topics which are relevant to address them. This can ensure a long-term strategy, which will be beneficial for the stakeholders and the organization.
Once the strategy is decided, the program can be rolled out. With this, it is paramount to set quantitative targets that will be measured by specific metrics. The metrics will show the success of the initiatives, and are a way to reassess the strategy and its objectives.
Finally, such successes and decisions should be communicated to impacted stakeholders, included involved employees and the management, so that they understand the efficiency of the CSR program. Such communication also acts as a basis for discussions.