Bloomington, ID - As more organizations embrace the bigger picture of sustainability – people, planet, and profits – what is called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) begins to play a larger role in their sustainability efforts.
CSR primarily involves developing ways to give back to a community.
The value of giving back, according to Stephen Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, is it “provides opportunities not only to connect with the community, but to increase employee engagement with the company, lift worker morale, and at the same time, strengthen the company brand.”
So how do organizations start a CSR program? Ashkin lists the following key steps to get a program off the ground:
1. Get the green light from the C-Suite.
2. Form a CSR Team to head the program.
3. Prepare a mission statement; examples of CSR mission statements include: “Our mission is to enrich and nourish lives;” “ensure people have access to the health care they need;” “make the world in which we work better than it was yesterday.”*
4. The team must make sure the CSR project is entirely inclusive, open to anyone in the organization.
5. Check to see if any CSR project has been performed in the past; if so, find out how well it succeeded and what challenges were encountered.
6. Determine the most important CSR project for the organization right now; also, decide if the project is going to be in-house – such as a staff clothing drive – or off campus – visiting schools, serving food at a shelter, etc.
7. Find a partner; if you are aware of an organization with a CSR program you like, ask to partner with them and expand the program.
8. Keep it quiet; “there is no reason not to look for ways to earn goodwill from the CSR program, but just make sure it is working well before you do; CSR programs can take a little time to get off the ground.”
*All mission statements have been truncated. In order of listing, they are from Aramark, drug manufacturer Baxter, and Verizon.
About Stephen Ashkin and The Ashkin Group
Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in Greening the cleaning industry, and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, which helps facilities monitor and measure their use of natural resources. He is known as the “father of Green Cleaning” and the professional cleaning industries leading advocate promoting sustainability. He is also coauthor of both The Business of Green Cleaningand Green Cleaning for Dummies