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Archive for the ‘social responsibility’ Category

RESOURCES: The New ISO 26000 Standard for CSR (Part 5)

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on April 6, 2009

This series of blog posts looks at the new ISO 26000 standard for corporate social responsibility. In five parts, it summarizes the report, How Material is ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)?, written by Oshani Perera in Sept, 2008.

PART V: MAINSTREAMING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: THE WAY FORWARD

This study establishes that ISO 26000 has the potential to introduce the social responsibility agenda to SMEs. However, it also establishes that only a particular profile of SMEs can be expected to join the debate. Further, it indicates that social responsibility practices need to move from mock compliance to a component of mainstream business acumen, and the debate needs to move from “doing-the-right-thing” to a useful way to maintain market position and differentiate from competitors.

It is also important for social responsibility proponents to move from building on the big-business case to experimenting with alternative tools and models to help SMEs develop the right mix of strategies to suit their businesses. Policy makers also need to design market instruments that will reward responsible enterprises.

But perhaps the very first step to bring ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to life is to acknowledge that the sustainable development debate tends to protect itself from the economic realities and linkages in the global economy. In particular:

• At the global level, growth in emerging countries is not substituting for outputs in industrialized countries, but is adding to it—driving down production costs and increasing productivity. This is why multinational companies (except in the banking sector) are still reporting gains, for they are achieving greater economies of scale and maintaining per-unit-cost margins.
• The global economy is focused on supplying to the middle classes in emerging and industrializing countries, and to a great extent their demands have yet to account for environmental and social attributes. We have also yet to realize that the biggest loser in the globalizing world is likely to be the worker, who lies at the very heart of the social responsibility debate. Social responsibility is, after all, about making living conditions more equitable and sustainable for all. And in economically advanced countries, workers are losing their bargaining power to those entering the workforce from poorer countries. This is manifested, not only the loss of jobs in the first world, but in a real decline in wages – for both lower-skilled workers and professionals.

In a similar vein, workers in developing countries have even less bargaining power, as the labor they bring to the global economy is rarely combined with capital. And with capital being increasingly free to move now, the loss of jobs in these countries is even more of a threat than the lowering of wages, as high inflation rates have already ensured that wages remain low. As a direct consequence of these trends, income inequalities are likely to increase even further.

Standards are an important tool in defining and leveling the playing field for more equitable trade and development. But just as they provide incentives for responsible enterprise, they can also be played out as trade barriers, especially vis-à-vis SMEs in industrializing countries that may lack the resources to comply. We need to intensify the debate on how standards can indeed open opportunities for sustainable trade – all along the value chain. For to remain competitive, global value chains are increasingly designed to pass on the costs and responsibilities of compliance to those at the primary tiers of the supply chain. And there is legitimate concern that environmental and social standards may be used as an excuse to consolidate supply chains and drastically reduce the number of supplier units in both developed and developing countries. Suppliers, therefore, who are unable to comply with environmental and social specifications, meet just-in-time schedules, and reduce production costs, are being left out – which will only add to the concentration of profits and expertise in limited pockets of society.

Standards, especially ISO 26000, also need to be flexible in their application to the social and environmental realities of industrializing countries. While we are all aware that there is no one-size-fits-all model, we also need to acknowledge that social responsibility issues cannot be universally interpreted. As much as we work to safeguard and enhance labor standards, we need to do so in a way that promotes flexible and dynamic workforces. As much as we work towards employment for all, we need to look for newer ways to enable job conversion, re-skilling, and up-skilling. And as much as we work to enable decent work and abolish child- and forced-labor, we need to tackle the economic and social realities that create these conditions in the first place.

This study was published in the run up to the development of the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility committee draft. This was necessary to ensure that the survey was conducted on the most recent and integrated draft versions of ISO 26000. IISD looks forward to continued learning and debate on responsible entrepreneurship, focusing on both trickle-down and on bottom-up strategies for sustainable development in the middle of the pyramid.

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RESOURCES: The New ISO 26000 Standard for CSR (Part 4)

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on April 2, 2009

This series of blog posts looks at the new ISO 26000 standard for corporate social responsibility. In five parts, it summarizes the report, How Material is ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)?, written by Oshani Perera in Sept, 2008.

PART IV: RESULTS OF THE SME SURVEY ON ISO 26000 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (cont’d)

ISO 26000, WITH EDITING AND IMPROVED PRESENTATION, HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SERVE AS A COMPREHENSIVE INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The study suggests that ISO 26000, with substantial improvements in style, language, and layout, can serve as a comprehensive introduction to social responsibility. And despite seeing the need for various improvements, all the respondents agreed the content of the draft, though very global and generic, did provide SMEs with a bigger picture of what social responsibility could entail for all organizations, including SMEs. Many respondents commented that the draft standard goes well beyond the requirements of other social responsibility standards, and were interested to see how the standard would play out in the marketplace.

ISO 26000 IS NOT LIKELY TO SERVE AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL FOR SMES
As much as ISO 26000 provides a comprehensive introduction of the SME debate, 89 percent of the respondents did not see ISO 26000 being used as a management tool by smaller organizations. The main reason for this perspective was that respondents regarded ISO 26000 to be too broad-spectrum and implicit to serve as a resource in operational challenges. The NCPCs commented further that ISO 26000 would need to be repackaged to address national and even sector-specific concerns, if it was to be of wider appeal.

ISO 26000 WILL ONLY ATTRACT A SELECTED PROFILE OF ENTREPRENEURS
All the respondents universally agreed that ISO 26000 will be picked up only by a selected profile of SMEs, namely:
• Those that are looking to export to Europe and North America
• Those that feed into international value chains
• Those whose products/services are inherently linked to environmental and social integrity
• Those that are financed by socially responsible and ethical investors
• Those led by individuals who more deeply appreciate environmental and social opportunities and risks
One comment offered: “ISO 26000 and all standards on these issues are not for everybody.”

SMES DO NOT IDENTIFY WITH JARGON
Over 45 per cent of the SMEs and 60 per cent of the consultants and NCPCs raised the issue of terminology and jargon getting in the way of promoting social responsibility. Interestingly, SMEs do not identify with the terms social responsibility or corporate social responsibility and did not use them internally. Instead, they referred to their social responsibility activities under a variety of other terms, including compliance, client relationships, client audits, client monitoring and external audits. “Social responsibility (or whatever you want to call it) is knowing that my workers represent 215 children under 10 years old. This is about getting the balance right—helping the business grow and helping these children have better opportunities than their parents.” (SME in Malaysia, forestry sector)

THE GENERAL MATERIALITY OF ISO 26000 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Approximately 90 per cent of the respondents considered the social responsibility principles given in ISO 26000 to be too remote from day-to-day operations to be of value to small organizations.

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RESOURCES: The New ISO 26000 Standard for CSR (Part 3)

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on April 1, 2009

This series of blog posts looks at the new ISO 26000 standard for corporate social responsibility. In five parts, it summarizes the report, How Material is ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)?, written by Oshani Perera in Sept, 2008.

PART III: RESULTS OF THE SME SURVEY ON ISO 26000 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (cont’d)

NETWORKED BUSINESSES ARE BETTER SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INCUBATORS
SMEs that are well-networked are likely to have a higher capacity to appreciate and respond to social responsibility challenges. It is well documented that SMEs tend to suffer for a chronic shortage of time to address issues that are beyond immediate operational concern. Indeed, 45 percent of the SMEs interviewed cited a lack of time as a major obstacle in improving social responsibility performance. They report that they have little time either to collate and interpret information, or scan their impacts on stakeholders and the environment. In such cases, it is easy to see how the social responsibility agenda, which requires higher-order learning and mindset changes, can be a harder sell. Consequently, the more networked an SME is—be it through multinational value chains or through local professional and philanthropic networks— the greater its learning and absorptive capacity for the sustainability agenda are likely to be.

THE LACK OF EXPERTISE IS A GREATER HURDLE THAN THE LACK OF TIME
The point made above suggests that time and resources are always going to be a constraint for smaller companies in working around social responsibility. This study also points out, though, that for companies already engaged in social responsibility, the lack of time wasn’t as much of a hurdle as the lack of expertise to make the right decision in the given business context. The interviews with SMEs and NCPCs were especially revealing in that respondents were not concerned with the time spent on implementation, but rather, the time spent on finding out what needed to be done. SMEs appear to lack the expertise to understand the social responsibility agenda, prioritize it within their business interests, and estimate the time and resources required to address them.

FINANCIAL RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS
Forty one per cent of SMEs and 37 per cent of the consultants and NCPCs observed that it was the liquid capital that prevented SMEs from investing in systemic improvements and new technologies that were inherent to social responsibility. These SMEs also viewed the increasing social compliance costs as a constant barrier to improving competitiveness, and suggested that their outputs did not reach the necessary economies-of-scale to justify investments in social and environmental improvement.

On the other hand, 38 per cent of the SMEs and 60 per cent of the consultants and NCPCs suggested that social responsibility-related investments did not present additional cost-burdens, provided that the mix of social responsibility strategies was suited to the firm’s immediate priorities.

SMES’ LACK OF NEGOTIATING POWER ACROSS THE VALUE CHAIN
Research has shown that smaller size often reflects lower negotiating power and lower leverage on market forces (Porter 1980), and this perspective was echoed by almost persons consulted in the survey. Some SMEs went so far as to state that even if they were to demonstrate of strong commitments to social responsibility, market forces were unlikely to reward them. Indeed, several respondents suggested the SMEs are more ethical than multinational firms, but they lack the negotiating and marketing power to demonstrate this commitment and to lobby for rewards for responsible entrepreneurship. Given these realities, as well as the inherent challenges of successfully competing in a global marketplace, it is perhaps no surprise that SMEs feel that social responsibility is an agenda in which mock compliance is the best way forward.

SIZE DOES INFLUENCE THE UPTAKE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?
There is wealth of academic and empirical evidence to suggest that larger SMEs are more likely to implement – and gain advantages from – social responsibility improvements, vis-a-vis smaller companies and micro-enterprises. And this study corroborates these findings, given the direct correlation between company size and the higher business profitability ratings provided by the SMEs.

SMES REQUIRE SPECIALIZED SUPPORT SERVICES AND IMPROVED ACCESS TO CREDIT
All the respondents commented that environmental and social responsibility required concerted support, and that the currently available resources were insufficient, sometimes even inappropriate, and that many smaller firms did not even know how to access these support services in the first place. This study identified three areas in which respondents believed more support was needed:

1) Strengthening of the overall fiscal and economic infrastructure to support SME
development and reward proactive companies,
2) Building the capacity and capability of SMEs to recognize social responsibility issues and opportunities, and
3) Improving SME access to financing.

The chambers of commerce interviewed also affirmed that they need to boost their services for SMEs in many areas, including sustainable enterprise. The traditional role of chambers of commerce has been to provide advisory services for business development, but advice on environmental and social issues is still very much viewed as an add-on. The reason offered for this by some of the chambers in the survey was that it was “out of their remit” and they felt that companies did not like to be “preached at.”

RISKS OF “DOING WRONG BY NOT DOING RIGHT”
Over 68 per cent of the NCPCs and consultants were of the view that SMEs did not engage in social responsibility practices because they were afraid of performing poorly and thereby exposing themselves to additional risk.”When you don’t know what to do, and if you are not sure what you are doing is what is needed, it is best to do nothing.” (NCPC, Jordan)

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RESOURCES: The New ISO 26000 Standard for CSR (Part 2)

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on March 30, 2009

This series of blog posts looks at the new ISO 26000 standard for corporate social responsibility. In five parts, it summarizes the report, How Material is ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)?, written by Oshani Perera in Sept, 2008.

PART II: RESULTS OF THE SME SURVEY ON ISO 26000 SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

DO STANDARDS FURTHER RESPONSIBLE ENTERPRISE IN SMES?
NCPCs and consultants provided an informative evaluation of how standards were contributing to sustainable enterprise in SMEs. They viewed standards primarily as starter tools to introduce companies to sustainable enterprise. They do not, however, consider standards to be of high value in raising skills, diversifying core product/service offerings, or ensuring legal compliance, which are essential aspects of business longevity.

DO STANDARDS ENCOURAGE MOCK COMPLIANCE?
Even though SMEs are heterogeneous in size and working structure, they appear to operate in a flat management and reporting hierarchy. There appears to be little distinction between the roles of management, ownership, and floor-level responsibility, as functions tend to be flexible and multi-disciplinary. Furthermore, activities for the most part are oriented towards resolving day-to-day problems through informal communication and interpersonal relationships.

In such a setting, social responsibility proponents need to better understand the organizational and motivational subcultures of different SMEs to determine how to best advance social responsibility within them. There is also a need to find methodologies that are differentiated from the more formal ones used by multinational companies, which include codes of conduct, corporate sustainability reports, performance indicators, supplier standards, and performance evaluation audits.

This study reveals that these tools – more often appropriate to large, multinational companies – may be inviting mock compliance by SMEs, rather than a deeper appreciation for sustainable development and the value of action at the level of small, individual enterprises.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS DRIVEN BY THE VALUES OF THE OWNER-MANAGER
The personal values of the owner-manager are potentially the key driver of social responsibility practices in SMEs. This view was confirmed by all respondents, including the national chambers of commerce. While the perspectives of employees could make a difference in how social responsibility may be played out in day-to-day activities, direction and decisions appear to be made by the owner-manager alone.

SMES DO NOT APPEAR TO INVEST IN SOCIAL CAPITAL
SMEs operate through a web of interpersonal relationships and therefore, at least in theory, they should be amongst the first to realize the value of investing in social capital. This study, however, reveals the reverse. None of the SMEs interviewed had, or planned to provide, opportunities for continued education, re-skilling or up-skilling to their employees. Bonuses, awards, subsidized housing, meals and childcare were amongst the commonly sighted indicators of a socially conscious employer, but skills-building was not a part of this portfolio.

SMES OFTEN MISS THE BIGGER PICTURE

SME do not appear to have a cradle-to-cradle understanding of the social responsibility agenda, i.e. how the different areas of environmental and social responsibility can combine to bring improvements across the triple-bottom-line—economic, social and environmental—performance. All the SMEs consulted appeared to approach each social responsibility issue as a discrete area of activity. And because these practices were carried out through informal processes, and with little or no performance monitoring, it is perhaps not that surprising that these companies had yet to realize the inter-connectivity across the different aspects of performance.

DO SMES VALUE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AS A BUSINESS STRATEGY?
Approximately 45 per cent of the SMEs were of the view that social responsibility was a matter of ethics and intuition, rather than a strategy to improve business. As one SME in the automobile sector in Slovakia commented, “Social responsibility is about doing the right thing; it is not about improving the company.” However, it is worth noting that at the end of the two consultations, which included some discussion on business issues and the local sustainable development context, over 75 per cent of the SMEs agreed that the right mix of social responsibility strategies could bring business benefits in both the near-and medium-terms.

SMES TEND TO SPECIALIZE IN PARTICULAR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ISSUES
SMEs tend to specialize in particular areas of social responsibility. That is, they tended to focus almost exclusively on one of the following: health and safety, energy and waste management, working hours and overtime, community contributions, or social benefits provision.

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RESOURCES: The New ISO 26000 Standard for CSR (Part 1)

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on March 27, 2009

This series of blog posts looks at the new ISO 26000 standard for corporate social responsibility. In five parts, it summarizes the report, How Material is ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)?, written by Oshani Perera in Sept, 2008.

PART I – THE STUDY TO MEASURE THE MATERIALITY OF ISO 26000

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has decided to launch the development of an International Standard providing guidelines for social responsibility (SR) named ISO 26000, or simply ISO SR, and is expected to be released in 2010. The standard offers guidance on socially responsible behavior and possible actions; it does NOT contain requirements and therefore, in contrast to other ISO management system standards, is not certifiable.

Perera’s project maps the materiality of the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a global survey of 59 SMEs, 37 social responsibility consultants, and 16 National Cleaner Production Centers across the world. It was commissioned by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to further investigate the underlying reasons why SMEs continue to be missing from the sustainable development agenda, and if and how the ISO 26000 could serve as a catalyst for their greater participation.
SMEs are widely viewed as a challenge in the sustainable development debate. They are seen as standing at its periphery and to be general unconcerned by environmental and social issues—even those inherent to their own businesses. Further, they work in markets affected by a global pattern of supply and demand, which are rendered even more complex by the intervention of governments and skewed trade regulations that favor larger players and special interests. And finally, SMEs also face challenges in getting access to markets in which economies of scale are needed to drive down production and distribution costs, while meeting just-in-time deadlines. Being at the lower end of supply chains, most SMEs have to bear the risks associated with just-in-time delivery, low or no inventories, low lead times, and rising prices of raw and semi-processed materials.

IISD embarked on this project with the understanding that while ISO 26000 may increase awareness, provide definition, and add legitimacy to the social responsibility debate, it may not contain the practical guidance to enable SMEs to implement theory in practice. SMEs are also likely to require external expertise to interpret and implement ISO 26000 in a manner that is best suited to their business context. This inherently presents additional costs that small organizations may find difficult to justify.

IISD suggests proponents of sustainable enterprise may need to first rethink and repackage the agenda to reflect the realities of the global marketplace – in order to facilitate the widespread participation of SMEs. For instance, there is a tendency to consider SMEs as a homogenous group, when in fact they encompass a wide variety of businesses, which have very different reasons for why, how, and how long they seek to be in businesses. In addition, large areas of the sustainable development and corporate responsibility agenda continue to be designed in a manner that overlooks the vitality of small firms in making a considerable impact on local competitiveness. Yet, according to the International Chamber of Commerce, SMEs typically account for 99 per cent or more of all firms in both industrialized in emerging economies.

The methodology for this survey is based on a wide cross section of in-person and telephone consultations with SMEs, National Cleaner Production Centers (NCPCs), leaders of the ISO 26000 processes and option leaders in the SME debate.

The next three posts will map the broad findings of the IISD survey on the materiality of ISO 26000 Social Responsibility for SMEs. In particular, they address the opportunities and obstacles in advancing social responsibility in SMEs. Then the fifth and final post in the series addresses ways in which we might “mainstream” social responsibility – to be more inclusive of SMEs into the future.

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NEWS: Sports For Nature

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on June 27, 2008

What’s more fun than playing sports? Playing sports that raise money to protect our wildlife! This past April we joined seventeen other companies to sponsor an event called Tennis For Nature, a doubles benefit tournament held in Herndon, VA. Fifty-six players were cheered on by over 400 spectators to raise money for two environmental organizations: Defenders of Wildlife and Alaska Wilderness League. Winners were awarded trophies, a one-month membership to the Sport & Health Club, and most importantly, voted to split the funds raised 50/50 between the two organizations. In the end, the event raised a grand total of over $32,000! These funds will help to protect the gray wolf population of the Northern Rockies, support polar bears in Alaska, and improve and protect the habitat of gopher tortoises in Florida. Now, that’s an ACE for the environment!

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NEWS: Women and the Environment

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on August 1, 2007

We’re always intrigued by the interplay between social issues and environmental sustainability, and so we were especially interested in recent posts from Grist.org and Trendwatching.com about women, purchasing power, and the environment.

Consider these facts:

¨ Consulting firm A.T. Kearney estimates that women determine 80 percent of consumption, purchase 60 percent of all cars, and own 40 percent of all stocks.

¨ Women are up to 15 percent more likely than men to rate the environment a high priority.

¨ Women comprise up to two-thirds of voters who cast their ballots around environmental issues.

¨ Women are more likely than men to volunteer for and give money to environmental causes, especially related to public health.

¨ Women report both more support for environmental activists and more concern that government isn’t doing enough.

¨ Women support increased government spending for the environment, while men favor spending cuts.

According to Grist (which sites all of the following survey data), polls also show that about 68 percent of American consumers have gone green, preferring health-conscious and environmentally responsible products. “Since 90 percent of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for their households, and women sign 80 percent of all personal checks, it’s safe to say that women are leading a quiet revolution in green consumerism.”

What does this mean for you? If you employ women or sell to women (and we know you do!), then looking at ways to be more environmentally responsible can pay dividends—not just in reduced energy costs and less waste, but also in terms of improved customer loyalty, a strong reputation, and happier employees.

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NEWS: In the War for Talent, Good Companies Finish First

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on February 15, 2007

The Good Search, a search practice that works to recruit for companies that attempt to be better businesses, recently released a survey about companies that are embracing social responsibility, and how employees feel about socially responsible companies. The survey results emphasize what Strategic Sustainability Consulting already preaches: social responsibility pays –in dividends.

Almost all respondents stated they would like to work for a successful company that was also “good.” About 92% stated they would trust a “good” employer, and would feel better and happier about themselves if they worked for a “good” company. However, only 36% of the respondents felt that they currently worked for a “good” company that had established corporate social responsibility reports. Furthermore, 9% felt that they worked for “bad” company with dubious ethics. Also, 91% believe that working for a “good” company reflects positively on them, as well as reinforces their ethical ideals. About 68% felt that having a “bad” company on their resume would reflect poorly on them and their careers.

A “good” company was defined by the following: Positive Work Environment (92% ), Family Friendly Benefits (73%), Profit-Sharing (67%), Superior Wages (59%), Superior Benefits (58%) and Wage Fairness (44%). Of the respondents, 44% wanted to work for an environmentally friendly company, and 37% wanted to work for a company that made socially responsible goods.

There is a growing population of workers who want to work for socially responsible companies. As the business environment shifts, the best way for companies to retain their employees, and attract qualified applicants, companies, if not already, should begin to focus on becoming more socially responsible.

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EVENT: DC Workshop – Becoming a Sustainability Champion in Your Organization

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on February 7, 2007


We’re delighted to announce that DC Net Impact is co-sponsoring this event, and will be raffling off 8 spots for this workshop series.


You care about the environment, social justice, and human rights. You recycle at home, make sure the lights are switched off at night, and take public transportation whenever possible. You avoid buying products from companies that contract from sweatshops, and even volunteer your time with a charity or two.

But what about at work?

You might not be in a position to dramatically change the direction of your organization, but you can have a positive influence on the environmental and social impact of day-to-day operations. That’s where Strategic Sustainability Consulting can help. In this 4-week webinar series, you’ll discover how to become a “sustainability champion” in your organization:

  1. Learn how to bring your personal values to the office in a positive, energizing way
  2. Convince your bosses that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is worthy of their time
  3. Determine the most important and strategic areas for an initial CSR program
  4. Implement a tracking program that truly measures progress towards sustainability

Each session is a 90-minute interactive workshop, where you’ll gain a basic understanding of the topic, hear from an expert in the field, and have an opportunity to ask questions. These workshops are perfect for recent graduates and young professionals—those employees who have the passion, but not the decision-making authority, to tackle the challenges of organizational sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Week 1 (March 6): Bringing Your Values to Work

Don’t feel frustrated by the disparity between your personal values and your day-to-day workload! Very few of us actually have jobs where we’re directly making the world a better place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a spirit of positive social change to work with you each morning. We’ll help you find a balance between your daily to-do list and the larger passions that motivate you to get up each morning.

Guest Speaker: Mary Guarino, Ph.D. is owner of StellarSelf, a personal coaching and wellness consulting practice focused on helping organizations that are dedicated to their employees’ well being, and helping individuals create more balanced, fulfilling lives.

Week 2 (March 13): Convincing Management That CSR Is Important

Unless you’re in the top tier of management, it’s unlikely that you can unilaterally introduce policies and programs to improve your organization’s social and environmental impact. But by convincing your bosses that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a good business investment, you can get the support you need to make some real changes. We’ll show you how to make the business case for corporate social responsibility to your top management.

Week 3 (March 20): Building a CSR Program

Once you’ve gotten management buy-in, the next step is to start developing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. In this session, you’ll learn how to conduct a “sustainability audit” to determine your organization’s key social and environmental impacts, simple ways to start introducing CSR policies and programs, and low-cost strategies to energize your colleagues.

Week 4 (March 27): Tracking and Communicating Progress

A key part of any successful CSR program (no matter how small) is measuring and communicating your progress. Whether you’re measuring pounds of recycled paper or hours of employee volunteerism, having hard data can make the difference between getting additional support (and recognition) and a sputtering enthusiasm. We’ll show you how to set up your goals for maximum effect, what metrics to track, and easy ways to create internal and external CSR communications that inspire and energize stakeholders.

Date: Every Tuesday in March

Time: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST

Location: CAAB Offices, 1801 K Street NW

Directions: 1 block from Farragut North—Red Line, 2 blocks from Farragut West—Orange/Blue Line

Cost: $250 (or $75 per individual session)*

Sign up at www.sustainabilityconsulting.com (click events)

* Ask your company if they will pay for these classes—it’s part of your professional development, and by educating you on this important topic they will be helping themselves become more responsible corporate citizens!

** Also note: there is an online version of this event that happens the day after the in-person workshop. If you are able to attend some in person, but need to also attend some on the web, send us an email at info@sustainabilityconsulting.com and we can work out an arrangement.

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EVENT: Webinar: Caring for Creation (Sustainability for Faith Communities)

Posted by Jennifer Woofter on February 4, 2007

Climate change, the conflict in Sudan, poverty—faith communities are increasingly turning their attention to “big” issues surrounding ecological stewardship, social justice, community service. But while most spiritual groups acknowledge the imperative to “care for creation”, figuring out how to get started and how to maximize their group’s effectiveness can be challenging.

SSC is pleased to offer Caring for Creation, an interactive “webinar” focusing on simple and cost-effective ways to help your faith community in its journey towards environmental and social responsibility. In this 90-minute presentation, you’ll learn:

¨ Key social and environmental issues where faith communities can have an impact.

¨ Practical tips about choosing which issues to focus on.

¨ Suggestions for setting up volunteer programs for maximum long-term effectiveness.

¨ A list of SSC’s favorite resources and relevant case studies.

Cost: $60

Register at: www.sustainabilityconsulting.com (click “Events”)


Space is limited to 20 people to ensure an interactive experience where you can ask questions and get real answers, so reserve your space today. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an email with log-in and call-in details.

Posted in climate change, environmental, events, social responsibility | Leave a Comment »