Why Move Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

 In Collaboration, Corporate Social Responsibility, Creating Shared Value, Leadership

Companies once regarded corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs as a means for maintaining their licence to operate, but that’s now changing.

At the recent Australian Food & Grocery Council Future Leaders event in Sydney, I was asked to shake up thinking about CSR by outlining how leading companies are tapping into selected social and environmental issues as a source of innovation and bottom line growth. It went neatly with the conference theme of collaboration for growth.

The audience was fully behind the message and eager to find out how to bridge the gap between concept and action, especially in the context of their industry. We started out by looking at the drivers collaboration across sectors and the challenges that come with it – drawing on various projects I’ve been involved with over the past decade.

We analysed examples of companies doing this well, the ways in which they grow their business and the quantum of social impact they can create in the process, before differentiating this more strategic approach from corporate philanthropy and CSR.

Finally, I provided some tips for explaining the concept to friends at a dinner party (!) and dealing with the human factors that arise when new partners across different sector start working together. Yes, we had some fun along the way!

Here’s one delegate’s comment:

I was at the AFGC Future Leaders Forum yesterday and was hugely impressed with your presentation on shared value and the differences with philanthropy and CSR – lots of food for thought. …it has got me thinking more about what we could do from a recruitment perspective.

The video above gives you a flavour for the session.

Phil Preston is known as The Collaboration Guy, an expert in moving beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) and creating commercially smart and socially good business strategies. He’s a professional speaker, facilitator and advisor to blue chip companies, NGOs and government. You can make contact or visit his website.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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