Top Skills You Need if You Want to Work in Corporate Social Responsibility or Sustainability

Are you looking for a CSR or Sustainability / ESG expert? Do you plan to work in Corporate Social Responsibility or Sustainability? If you answered yes to any of these two questions, we have got you covered. In today’s article we are going to go over the top skills you need if you want to work in CSR or Sustainability, or the top skills you need if you want to stand out as a CSR specialist.

Today’s article is meant to provide answers to the following questions: What skills does someone need if they want to work in CSR? What skills do CSR specialists have? What skills do sustainability experts need? Are there any skills that set aparat great CSR / Sustainability specialists from high performers? What makes a good CSR / Sustainability specialist?

To provide the needed answers to these questions, we are going to combine the skills that are currently needed in the market for our field, as well as our background experience working with people from different: niches, industries and business models. We are not only going to mention them, but also go a little bit more deeper into why these skills are important and how you can make the most of it, in order to further develop your skills and grow. As a bonus, we will also offer some of our best tips on what you can do to improve in that particular area or skill. 

Are soft skills enough in order to be a great CSR / Sustainability Expert? 

While we are great fans and supporters of soft skills, we learned, over time, that they are not enough in order to differentiate. We have learned that in this field, previous experience is also really important when working with businesses and companies that want to scale and make an impact in their: communities, workplace and overall. To better explain, we are going to take an example:

Let’s say you are a great communication and a great listener – while these are very good skills, which are important in any business and especially when interacting with clients, if you have some previous experience in the field, you will already gain a little bit more  advantage.

The advantage comes in not only in the moment when you first interact with your potential client, but also when you prepare your CSR Strategy. Your background experience will come in handy because it will help you be more proactive and you are more likely to be better at anticipating the needs and directions of the client or project with ease. We think that background experience is helpful as it encourages you to get more creative and see more opportunities faster while also remaining focused on the end results. To put it easier, experience saves you time and gives you great ideas –  and we all know how valuable well spent time is. 

Now that we did a little bit of an introduction into what we think makes a great Corporate Social Responsibility or Sustainability Expert, we are going to go over the list we have prepared with, what we think, are the best skills you need as a CSR Professional.

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  1. Strategic Thinking

At the core, we think that strategic thinking equals success. A person who can think strategically, can anticipate if a CSR strategy will be successful or not, and this, from early on. 

Being a strategic thinker is very very important because this saves everyone’s: time, resources, and potential social implications. We cannot stress enough how important strategic thinking is in our field.

Working with someone who is thinking strategically, will help you in many ways, as their main gift is that they are very implicated into what they want to do and their vision. They ask a lot of questions, they second guess, triple check and observe / reflect and all this, before they are ready to do it all over again.

If you work in CSR or Sustainability, you definitely need to be a strategic thinker – this will ensure you are asking the right questions, you are considering all aspects involved and you are ready to challenge yourself and embrace different ideas. 

Strategic thinking also helps you see the bigger picture and it helps you innovate and have a better vision of what you want to do and how that will impact everyone involved. (this is what easily describes, CSR is all about).

Our best practice or tip on how you can do to improve your strategic thinking is to force yourself to ask different questions and see them from different perspectives. This will allow you to be more flexible in your thinking and expand your horizons. 

Another tip we have is to don’t limit your ideas and don’t take only one idea as a great one. Always keep exploring and challenging your ways. Practice this, every time you have a chance and see what happens. 

  1. Communication 

Your Communication skills definitely need to be on point. This means:

  • talking / interacting 
  • listening 
  • emotion control

Now, we do not have a standardized profile of how someone who is a good communicator should be, or how they should act. We think that being a great communicator also has to do with the way that person is and this is very individual, however we do know how effective communication should look like.

When your communication skills are strong, you are also an effective communicator, and this means that you have strong skills in:

  • problem solving
  • strong decision making
  • great response and great productivity
  • you know how to deliver your message: clear and concise communication

Our best tip on what you can do to improve your communication skills is to: gather experience. Talk with people. Talk with business professionals. Get yourself involved in activities that require a lot of interaction. Get out there and practice.

  1. Willing to learn & understand

Working in CSR requires a lot of research. You have to have a lot of patience and you have to be willing to learn – a lot. And always explore new ways of doing things. 

In CSR a lot of it has to do with what you know but also what you are capable of learning – and how well and how fast. This is what makes a CSR or Sustainability Professional stand out. 

We do not think you can force this skill or that you can learn it. We think that if you are really passionate and dedicated about CSR, you will have no problems with this, because it will come naturally to you. So, our best tip for this part is, be really passionate about what you want to do. 

  1. Adapts Easily & Is Passionate

While if the recent events taught us anything, that is how easily things can change from one day to the next and how much do we need to adapt to current events in order to make sure everything will happen in our favor.

As a CSR Professional, you have to do the same. You have to be ready to make a strategy and then at any point in time, change it, if needed. You have to be flexible in your thinking and easily adaptive in your action plan. It is not easy. It is not something that can be done lighty, but it has to be done and someone has to do it.

Being an easy adapter is even more practical if you are passionate about your field. If you know you want to make an impact and if you think you can offer great solutions in times of need and if you have a strong desire to change your ways, then you know that this is for you. 

And our best tip for this is to keep doing what you are doing and always find your passion. If things go south, remember why you started. 

And while you remember, pick yourself up and adapt your ways again. (See, there is a reason why we have put these two together – this is where they belong). 

  1. Business Background

And at last, we strongly believe that having a background in business is a strong differentiator. We think that as a CSR expert or professional it is not quite enough to only know CSR.

You also have to know a little bit of how business works, how your CSR message will play along with the company’s brand, mission and values. How will your CSR campaign affect the design and branding of the company, how will the customers respond to your CSR efforts and how will this impact the overall business?

A CSR expert will also have to look at data: all business metrics, KPIs and reporting and understand the overall picture and what we are trying to achieve. 

All these aspects need to be taken in consideration when creating a CSR strategy or campaign and a pro CSR / Sustainability expert will take all of these factors in consideration when creating the action plan. And that’s definitely a plus. 

What do you think? Do you think these skills are important if you work in CSR? Do you have any other skills that you consider important? Let us know! We would love to hear them.

Examples of How The Cosmetic and Beauty Industry Incorporates Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability Strategies

In today’s article we are going to go over a specific niche that not only spends billions of dollars every year but is also changing its ways and the way their business model was initially set up. It is estimated that the skincare industry was worth in 2020, $39.2 Billion US dollars and that it is still growing. Now, we have to mention that this is only the skincare industry alone, if we were to add the cosmetics and beauty products into place it would easily reach $50 Billion US dollars. And to be fair, there is no surprise here, this industry was created over years by different companies or retailers and it has reached a level of very high demand. 

As a background check and having worked with cosmetic and beauty brands, we can confirm that the market is really competitive and the views of the customers are ever changing. No two cosmetic brands are ever the same and nor their customers loop, however, just as in every company, there are differentiating factors that come into play in order for the company or brand to obtain a competitive advantage and grow as a standalone beauty brand, retailer or corporation. 

With this article, we want to go over some interesting facts and numbers about the Cosmetic and Beauty Industry which started to incorporate some CSR strategies and be more responsible when it comes to their: product, packaging, environmental and social impact as well as in some cases, their ingredients. To do this, we are going to start from the beginning and go over the reasons on why companies and beauty brands started to incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and work towards being more sustainable in all aspects: social, economic and environmental. After this, we will go over some quick examples of CSR strategies that are created in the beauty space as well as our final thoughts and advice. 

What influences this change?

This shift towards a more socially responsible brand or company, is mainly coming from the consumer, which is also becoming more educated and more aware of their overall impact in the word.

The business consumer, on their end, is looking to purchase products that are good: for them, their family and the world and this trend can be seen across different niches as well. We are seeing how the consumer is actively searching and looking for different alternatives for their regular products and this includes and translates to: what the consumer is eating – reaching out to better alternatives, purchasing different household items, looking to shop more locally or decrease waste. 

If you are interested to learn more about the shift in consumers views, we have written an article about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Seen From The Customer’s Perspective which you can find here

Another reason that influences this change in customer behavior and custom purchase behavior is the continuous progress and introduction of initiatives, challenges and even regulations in order to keep up with the demand and the requests of customers as well as the ever changing progress in the beauty space.

For example, did you hear about the term “Responsible Beauty? The Responsible Beauty is also an initiative that was first introduced in order to improve sustainability throughout the entire beauty supply chain. This initiative was responsible to reframe and accelerate the beauty industry in order to be more responsible on all levels: economic, social and environmental.  All these changes and initiatives represent a step forward towards a more sustainable future for us but also for the next generations. 

Examples on how the Beauty and Cosmetic Industry Incorporates CSR Strategies and Sustainability Strategies

While we do not want to mention specific companies and beauty brands which are actively doing CSR, we are going to mention some of the efforts we are seeing in the beauty, cosmetic space when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and how they translate. 

For example, some CSR initiatives in the beauty and cosmetic industry can be:

  • Taking a stand against animal cruelty and not testing on animals anymore (Cruelty Free International, Humane Cosmetics Standards)
  • Supporting Community Fair Trade (different programs)
  • Supporting Ethical Trade (Ethical Trade Program, Supplier Code of Conduct)
  • Changing their packing to more sustainable solutions 
  • Taking a stand on: human rights and making their products available for everyone, without relying on a “beauty standard” 
  • Taking a stand on Social Responsibility including: work/life balance, implementing policies for the welfare of employees and getting involved in the communities. 
  • Taking a stand in helping the Planet and being overall more environmentally conscious: generating less waste, reduction of CO2 emissions, electricity consumption, increasing the amount of recyclable material, decreasing useless packaging materials. 
  • Being open about their values, mission on what they stand for while also taking initiative for all of these. Examples of these values include: authenticity, respect for all parts involved, transparency. 

While there are many sustainability and CSR initiatives that the beauty, skincare and cosmetic companies started to incorporate, here is an image concluding the top topics that the beauty industry currently stands for.  

Our thoughts and advice

By now we know that customers are no longer shopping traditionally. We also know that brands and companies are working on changing their ways and becoming more sustainable conscious and also implementing more CSR strategies and campaigns in their organization. All of these changes are making us happy.

From our experience, we are seeing that even smaller changes create a big impact and our best advice for beauty brands is to not only think outside the box but also wonder what is the box made of. Even if we still have a long way to go, progress is being made and even a little goes a long way.

We always say, when in doubt, to reach out to experienced specialists in the field before making a change as even if the changes you want to implement, sound right, sometimes the audience will have a different opinion.

Another advice we have for beauty brands is to listen to their most trusted partners, which are their employees as they hold the key to the upcoming future changes. They are really an important piece and should never be neglected. 

How Can Companies Implement the Triple Bottom Line Approach?

Today’s article is an overview of one of the concepts used regularly when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility. In the past years, we have noticed that the triple bottom line approach started to be used more frequently by social entrepreneurs, ethical businesses and more concussions organizations.  

This article is meant to raise awareness and share some light and insights on the Triple Bottom Line Framework that has been around since 1994, when it was first discussed. With the TBL approach, companies are invited to not only focus on their strict, organizational, business activities, but look past them and integrate their moral compass in their day to day business. This means that with this concept, companies need to consider some aspects of their business and re-analyze their position, goals and growth plan moving forward.

In this article, we will discuss: what is the triple bottom line approach, what does it mean for companies to consider having a triple bottom line approach in their business, how is the TBL seen and a few examples.  

What is the Triple Bottom Line Approach? 

As slightly mentioned in the introduction, the Triple Bottom Line Approach was first discussed and introduced in 1994 and has been around and growing popularity since then. 

While the TBL is a new concept and has been attributed to be close in line with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it is important to mention that CSR is not a new concept. CSR was firstly introduced in 1953 but there were discussions about it, far before then. If you want to learn more about CSR and when it first started, please check out the our article on: What is CSR and why Does it matter in Business.

To get back to our definition and without oversimplifying it, the Triple Bottom Line has been called by many, either:

  • The Triple Bottom Line Approach
  • The Triple Bottom Line Theory
  • The Triple Bottom Line Framework
  • The Triple Bottom Line Strategy

While all of these names, in essence are different, they actually mean the same thing and have at the core, the same beliefs. 

The core message of the TBL approach is that the company is responsible for more than just the growth and profit of the organization but that it has a moral action to be equally and socially responsible on three scales: economic, social and environmental. 

The goal of this framework is to be successful and sustainable on all pillars and have: economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability. These pillars are the road to long-term sustainability success.

In essence, the Triple Bottom Line Approach refers to: Profit, People, Planet.

What does the Triple Bottom Line Approach mean to companies? 

This underlines that for companies, it is no longer enough to solemnly work on their day to day activities without incorporating their efforts in becoming more sustainable in all of the: economic, social and environmental aspects. 

This means that companies are “pushed” to rethink their strategies and actions in order to align with: CSR, sustainability and the triple bottom line framework. 

There have been studies and market research initiatives that underlined that customers are more likely to purchase from companies that are socially responsible and are involved in the good of the planet or good of the people.

The same studies apply for employees as well, which in the studies, more than half of customers confirmed that they are more likely to work for companies that create value and meaning in the world. 

We have to understand and foresee that the company’s views are changing and we have to be part of it. 

The employees views are changing and that the consumer is looking to be more socially responsible on their end too. With so many growing options and alternatives everyone, is it expected of us to be part of the change and learn to differentiate a growing, changing market. 

Some of the benefits of the Triple Bottom Line Approach, include: 

  • the fact that companies are encouraged to think beyond profit numbers and look at other aspects including: social and environmental issues. 
  • encourages a new way of doing business
  • encourages long term thinking and taking initiative and awareness on things that matter and make a difference 
  • reintegrated moral values in all aspects of a business
  • supports change by becoming an example 
  • extends the views of what sustainability is
  • encourages CSR reporting

How can Companies Implement the Triple Bottom Line Approach?

First and foremost, before implementing an actual Triple Bottom Line Approach in an organization it is important to start from the beginning. 

At this point, we know that with the TBL Framework, companies need to take into account the following aspects: 

  • Economic (Profit)
  • Social (People) 
  • Environmental (Planet)

But all of these aspects have a lot of activities piled up in the background. Let’s take the Social TBL aspect as an example.

In order to be in line with the TBL approach from a Social perspective, you need to take in the account a lot of things, out of which, these can include (but not limit to):

  • Current Society’s Requests
  • Current Society’s Needs
  • Anticipation of the Society’s Requests and Needs in the next years
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Job Safety and Security
  • Workforce Equality
  • Working Conditions
  • Adapting to New types of Working Conditions (Check out our article of best practices and tips based on 4+Years of working from home) 

Our Advice Before Implementing the TBL Framework

From where we stand, our view is that the TBL approach and even any CSR initiatives that your organization plans to run cannot be taken lightly. They are in depth strategies and approaches, that even if they sound easy to do or implement, require a lot of thinking, knowledge and points to be considered before diving in deep. 

Our recommendation is to, (as in everything else), consult or work with a specialist that has been around this field many years and has gathered the necessary experience to help you on your journey to become a more sustainable company or brand. 

Additionally, working with someone qualified can also help you measure the results of your Triple Bottom Line Strategy, which we all know paints a bigger picture in reinforcing all the values your company stands for. 

Best Practices and Tips To Take Your Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy to the Next Level

Here, at CSRgrowth – we eat Corporate Social Responsibility for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and this might come as a surprise but, we are always hungry for more. We never get tired of learning, researching and coming up with ideas that are innovative, life changing and actionable. We pride ourselves in being: young, experienced and visionary, and yes, before you ask, know that those adjectives complement each other.

In today’s article, we decided to share some of our best practices and tips on what you should consider before starting your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and what are some of the insights we offer. 

Before starting, it is important to note that this is just a starting point, the article outlined today only represents some points and aspects everyone should consider and analyze, before creating a CSR strategy.

Also, another point that needs to be mentioned is that this is not a “fit all approach” and the article only offers some initial guidance before actually implementing and thinking of a strategy.  As we said it before, and we will have to say it time and time again, CSR is not something that can be standardized. Each company, each brand and each organization requires their own CSR strategy, their own visions and their own act that will fit perfectly into how the organization is built and offers a strong plan towards where it is headed. 

We always advise and recommend companies and brands to really take their time to analyze, interpret and be very aware of all the involvement, possible risks, opportunities and even threats that can arise before starting a CSR, ESG or Sustainability.

From our opinion, implementing and creating a CSR strategy is not something that needs to be tackled lightly and involves a lot of commitment and a well built strategy. 

With all this, being said, we hope we did not scare you too much. Without any doubts, a strong, successful, CSR strategy can be implemented, but we like to be straightforward and honest and set clear expectations from the start.

Now, let’s get this article started. Here are our best tips and practices to take your Corporate Social Responsibility plan to the next level.

  1. Know What Causes Change

While in business it can be all facts and numbers, to really implement a successful CSR strategy, you need to know what causes and drives change.

You might think that it is not important to “move” people, but if you want your strategy to be more than just a business move, it has to come from a different place and it has to have a different view. 

We are not saying that numbers should be neglected, we are saying that numbers should not be the definitive factor when starting a CSR strategy.

Your upcoming plan should include a vision that speaks to you, your company, your employees, your brand, your business model and especially new customers, stakeholders, business partners and what not.

Here are a few questions we recommend you should consider before implementing a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy:

  • How would you describe change?
  • What are the main aspects that drive a change in people? 
  • What are the main aspects that can cause a change in behavior?
  • How do your customers, employees and all parts involved view change? 
  • How is your business viewed? Does it speak to others? What are they saying?

The last question can also be tied to one of our articles titled: “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) seen from the Customer’s Perspective.  If you are interested to learn more, you can check out the article which offers a different view of CSR that might benefit your business or brand in the future.

  1. A lot of research is needed 

While creating change and being open to it, seems very easy to do, you should know that that is just a pillar.

Before actually taking action, we will be straight forward and say that a lot of research is needed. A lot. A lot. And we mean, hours of questioning, research and creating possible scenarios, just to be open to doing it all again if you go down a road that you are unsure of.  You have to have your facts straight, you have to know how to answer every question and you have to be prepared to do it all again if something does not fit correctly.  

This is the foundation of a well, sustainable and successful CSR strategy but this is also the stage where most strategies fail.

Most companies fail at the very first step in creating their CSR plan. 

They fail because they do not know what types of questions to ask, they do not know how to analyze the data they have and most importantly, they do not rely on research.

The best tip or advice we can offer is: rely on your research.

Are there any parts missing? We will tell you that you will always have some information missing but we advise you to know where you should seek and find that information. More often times that now, the answers you are looking for can either be found:

  • in your organization
  • in your employees
  • in your customers

Rely on research.

  1. Rethink your actions

Now that you know a little bit about how to change behavior.

Now that you know a little bit about research and how to get it.

It is time to slowly take action.

In this stage, we adse you to rethink all your strategies again. Go back to the previous steps and rethink everything. Take all the time you need and try to find other potential paths from a different view. This will make all the difference. 

In this step, your main questions should be:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What are our priorities? 
  • What are we trying to solve?
  • Why? 
  1. Build and act upon your data

If you get to this step, you know you are on the right path. Here, once again, slowly, everything becomes a little bit more actionable. 

The reason it becomes actionable is because, if you followed everything correctly, you have the data, you have the research, you reprocessed everything and now you are confident in your strategy and in your plan.

At this point our recommendation is to take all the information you got in the previous steps and use the power of story in order to present your strategy in a compelling way. 

  1. Find your engagement team

We know that nothing great cannot be built without a dream team.  At this point, our recommendations are easy to follow:

  1. Find the right people to execute.
  2. Find the right people to tell the story.
  3. Create a strong relationship that will drive and grow your strategy.

Do you want to learn even more? Check out our article on how to measure the performance of your CSR strategy and campaigns right here. (Measuring performance and knowing what to measure is equally important for success)/

  1. Re-think everything and be prepared for change. 

Now, that you are getting ready for everything to go live, know that you might have to rethink everything once again. Know that you made an important progress today, but you might need to be prepared for change, once again, tomorrow. 

Know that while it is not easy, it can bring immense change and you can always learn a little more each day. 

Know your data, use the information you have and act fiercely.

Conclusion 

We hope you found this article interesting and helpful. If you want to learn more, we also recommend the following titles:

Do not hesitate to contact us or ask us any questions you might have in the comments section below. 

Anticipating Top Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Trends for 2022

We already know that Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability are trending topics, especially amongst Companies and Brands that understand that their contribution can affect everything: from the way things work, to how they are being processed, to how the end consumers perceive and view everything.

We are happy to see that times are changing and we are even more happy to be part of the active change. Because of this reason, we prepared a requested topic, that we hope will reflect some insights and provide answers from our industry.

This article is meant to offer answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to CSR in 2022. Here are some of the questions: What are the top CSR trends for 2022? Will there be more positive change? Where can we expect to see an increase in demand? What is being valued and what are the current regulations in regards to CSR and Corporate Social Responsibility reporting? Are companies and brands actively getting involved? 

The answers to all of these questions and even more, you will find in this article. Let’s get started with some of the top CSR trends that we anticipate to see this year.

Companies are actively seeking to implement CSR Strategies

Companies are further embracing and actively seeking to implement and develop in depth CSR strategies. This phenomenon is mainly happening because business leaders and business experts see how much of an impact CSR has over a company’s growth process and everyone involved. This is especially powerful, during times like these.

It is important to mention that, even if Corporate Social Responsibility is not something new and has been part of businesses for a long time,  we are excited to see that more and more companies and brands are getting involved and are rethinking their ways and processes. 

For 2021, we are anticipating further growth in this sector and we expect to see more companies not only creating and implementing CSR strategies, but coming up with new initiatives. Initiatives that are well built around core business competencies, strengths and opportunities. 

For 2022, we want to see new initiatives take place that are effective, smart, well designed, which not only contribute to an organization’s growth, but also creates value, while doing so. 

All Parts Involved Support Small Businesses and Local Businesses

If there is something that the 2020-2021 pandemic showed us, is that the popular catch-phrase “act globally. think locally”, has a deep, immerse power. Thinking back on the recent turn of events and trying to squeeze in the opportunities, we can see that there has been a shift towards supporting small businesses and local stores. And this is a great thing to see.

We anticipate that for 2022, we will see more: companies, brands, customers, stakeholders and all parts involved, further support small businesses and local stores that are able to create and meet the needs of customers who are rethinking their purchase actions. 

As part of our CSR initiative, we have created a dedicated program for Small Businesses & Start-ups. Please check out the CSR for Start-ups Program, a program designed by our team to help startups and small companies implement and integrate CSR strategies and campaigns that make a difference.

Brands are re-aligning their Business Models

We are seeing more and more brands coming up with well written and well thought business models. 

We are seeing revolutionary products and revolutionary brands that are creating products that are good for everyone using them. 

We anticipate that brands will get even more conscious and actively involved in creating products that meet all the requirements of a “more conscious consumer” 

And because we SEE you, we have created a dedicated program for sustainable and ethical brands, as part of our CSR initiative. If you want to learn more about this program, please check out the CSR for Sustainable and Ethical Brands program, we have special offers and discounts for brands that are actively creating change.

Re-evaluating and Implementing New Sustainable Development Goals

We hope that by now, you are familiar with the 17 goals of sustainable development goals. (SDGs) that are taking part from “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, adopted by all United Nations. If you are not familiar with these, please check the following image. 

We anticipate that in 2022, more companies will re-evaluate these goals and see how they can implement, set and create achievable goals in order to help contribute to these matters. 

We are confident that every organization can align and rethink their business model to adapt and align their core missions, beliefs and visions to causes that matter and make a difference.

Actively participating in causes that matter

Since a few years back, we started to see an uptick in: employees, customers and the general population actively participating in causes that matter.  Some of the popular activities that are on the rise include (but don’t limit to) : volunteering, living a more sustainable life, shopping more consciously, looking for better alternatives for the Planet, re-thinking our food choices, embracing a new way of shopping or traveling. 

We expect that this trend will not only continue but it will rise. We expect to see:

  • more consumers getting involved and sharing feedback for the brands they love
  • more consumers getting involved and sharing feedback for the companies they work for
  • more companies offering programs that support and help employees on their journey
  • more companies re-thinking their products and looking to offer more sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly products 
  • companies and brands actively participating and creating change and leading by example

Reporting and Technology will be integrated in each CSR practice

We expect to see more companies releasing CSR reports and embracing technology, which will be integrated in every CSR practice, campaign and strategy.

There is no doubt that sharing information while processing it wisely using technology will lead to new ways of doing business and 2021 feels like it is just the beginning of all these exciting changes that are on the rise.

Conclusion

Here, at CSRgrowth, we are extremely excited to see what comes next, what will 2021 bring, but also how will CSR look in the next 10, 25, 35, years? How will everyone respond to that? Will CSR become a part of the daily operations of a business?

No matter what the future brings, there is no doubt that exciting times are coming. 

What CSR trends do you anticipate in 2022? Are you excited to see what the future holds and how this industry will unfold in the next few years?

How to Measure Performance on Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy in 2022

In Today’s article we are going to go over the main aspects on how to measure the performance of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaigns, what to look for and how having a well built strategy in place will affect your overall company.

First of all, we would like to say that there is no right way to measure the performance of your CSR strategy. Currently, there is not a “one way fits all approach”, as CSR is very unique and tends to bind and integrate solemnly on your own organization and the way you have been running everything. Therefore, measuring performance on your CSR strategy and campaign is not a standardized practice and it needs to be adapted to your own business particularites, views, goals and business model.

There are some basic-elementary ways of measuring the performance of your CSR strategy, but they represent only a start point and they do not reflect the performance KPIs or include all the aspects in which a campaign can be fully measured. Some of these basic-elementary aspects are: a benchmark against competition, exploring and defining measurable goals, refining tools and practices within the company and more – all depending on what you are trying to accomplish and how do you ultimately want to measure and what matters to you and your business.

Additionally, it is important to mention that the way you will measure your CSR performance for your campaigns and strategy also depends on where your company is in the “CSR Journey” – how far along you are, how everyone is responding to your current efforts or how far are you from accomplishing your goals. 

Why you should measure your CSR efforts

There are many reasons why you should measure your Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, but mainly it is because it gives you an accurate representation of where you stand with CSR but also helps you further develop your strategies and plans.

By implementing accurate ways of measuring your CSR performance, you should be able to:

  • have a better idea of where you stand with CSR
  • have a better understanding of what matters to your customers / employees / your business and all parts involved
  • have a better vision of where you are heading
  • have more information in order to be able to develop further innovative strategies
  • identify areas of improvement in either your current strategy or upcoming initiatives
  • further work on sustainable solutions for your business 

CSR Tools and Frameworks

As CSR is growing, we are already seeing in the market a lot of tools and frameworks that are being developed. While we like to point out that we learn as much as we can and we are up to date with the latest news in the industry, we also know that at the base of a really good CSR strategy, lies a well built, integrated plan.

In our work, we use a combination of different tools and frameworks in order to identify different areas of improvement, however, at the end, what really makes a difference is the way we implement and always re-strategies our plan.

With CSR, it is not enough to only create an initial plan and work towards implementing it. In our experience, we have learned that we always need to adjust and learn to respond to what is happening in the market, at all times. 

And even, in many cases, that is not enough – besides constantly adjusting the strategy and plan, we need to take in consideration both the short term results of the CSR campaigns as well as the long term forecasted results and goals. 

By thinking both short term and long term, we ensure that we have better coverage on what we are working towards building – especially as CSR is a significant project that affects many parts and pieces of a company. 

The Base for Measuring Performance

The base for measuring your Corporate Social Responsibility performance lies in research. 

Research represents the groundwork for all your upcoming plans and ways of measuring performance. This is especially important when you are working on building initiatives that are very social driven and involve many parts. 

CSR Reporting

While it is not mandatory (yet) to have standardized reports, it is especially recommended to make an analysis and create a report in order to measure the impact of your CSR efforts. This will help you better understand all the aspects that come to play when it comes to measuring your CSR performance.

Nowadays, just like with different tools and frameworks, there are many platforms that are developing and creating easy reports in order to underline your CSR campaigns. 

But once again, as we hope you learned by now, with CSR everything is very unique, personalized and customizable, and indefinitely, the reporting data will be the same.

Conclusion

Based on this article, we can come up with the following two conclusions:.

  1. Every CSR strategy is especially unique for each business and the performance of every campaign needs to be measured differently. This requires that all campaigns and all aspects of the business be integrated.
  2. When creating CSR campaigns and measuring performance, we need to take in consideration both short term results and long term forecasts and results.
  3. Having a single tool, framework and plan is not enough in order to have a successful, well built, integrated CSR plan. 
  4. An advanced CSR strategy or campaign requires constant adjustments and different frameworks and tools in order to obtain the best possible results.
  5. Research is the groundwork for everything you plan to do. 

Additional resources

If you’re new to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and if you are seeking more, in depth, information on the subject, we have written a few more articles in regards to CSR. Please find them here:

Addressing the Top 6 Myths on Business Sustainability

In all Business Aspects, in Today’s World, we are not talking enough about Business Sustainability. We might have a glance idea of what Business Sustainability means but we actually do not know what: it covers, how we can apply it in real life work – life practice or how it creates a difference. We are not aware of the effects implementing this practice has across everyone involved. The good part is that by educating ourselves and by being more open minded towards creating better opportunities, we can change that.

Today’s article is meant to be an informative post on the most common myths that we have encountered when it comes to Sustainability in Business. Additionally, this article is also meant to raise more awareness on the subject and all it’s particularities. 

As a side note, before we get started, we want to mention that the list of the business sustainability myths is not an exhaustive list and we will re-edit and update the article, regularly, as needed based on new information and findings. 

Here are the main common myths and concerns about Business Sustainability that we will be going over today. Let’s get started.

Business Sustainability is not Something Companies Need to do

We are going to be very direct and say that companies who do not think that Business Sustainability is something they can implement or work towards are not a good fit for us. We are strong believers that companies should work on creating and developing sustainable business practices that will benefit future generations.

Business Sustainability should be part of the company’s culture and even if it is present or non-existent –  it speaks loudly about the organization. The sooner the companies recognize this, the sooner they can act upon it in order to change and adapt their business models.

Business Sustainability is not Something Companies Need to do – but are very much encouraged to do.

Business Sustainability is Expensive 

The data speaks for itself. We now know that companies who implement sustainability in their organization and activities are able to:

  • decrease their overall costs (but generally need a greater investment at first)
  • realign their strategy to compliment the business
  • be proactive and emerge new trends
  • empower consumers in their buying decision
  • increase revenue and profit 
  • create change and embrace a new vision
  • stand out from their competition

The question is not if business sustainability is expensive – but rather, how much does it cost your company to NOT have a Business Sustainability Practice and Strategy in place!?

Business Sustainability does not lead to profit  / Consumers are not interested in Business Sustainability

This is one of the most common myths we are encountering in our practice. Just like in the previous myth we discussed, we are re-affirming that: the data is there and speaks for itself.

The new trend amongst consumers is changing. Currently, customers are more likely to pay and purchase from companies that are putting extra efforts in making sustainability and CSR (corporate social responsibility) parts of their business practice. 

Corporations and companies that are getting more involved and actively planning their strategy in order to become more sustainable can have an increase in return by about 15% or even more. 

Employees are not interested in Business Sustainability

It should not come off as a surprise, that just like in the previous example, trends are changing and the stats are there. Right now, employees are more likely to want to work for companies that are making a difference, creating change and bringing value in their activities.

Business Sustainability is not important and it does not help a business grow

The effects business sustainability brings are far greater than the overall growth of a company. Depending on how you choose to adapt your sustainability strategy, the benefits can be seen across multiple places. Your sustainability effects will not only be reflected on your company but they will also be reflected on your: customers, employees, communities and more.

Business Sustainability will not make a difference in your business, but it will help create a bigger impact on your customers, employees, stakeholders, and community, which in the end will impact new markets and help develop new practices and mindsets. 

Business Sustainability does not require any strategy or a plan

Another myth in business sustainability is that it does not require a strategy or a plan. The truth is that sustainability in business is an ongoing practice that requires a well built plan that constantly needs adjustments and tweaks.

The strategy that you will create will dictate if your company will be able to be successful in adapting sustainability practices in the future, if it will be able to expand or if it will require more resources than initially planned. 

Developing an advanced business sustainability practice requires: experience, time, resources and even a dedicated team that will be able to create strategies, implement them, analyze them and review the impact it had. 

This way, Business sustainability is an investment that without a doubt, requires a well integrated plan in the overall aspects of any business.  

Conclusion

In conclusion, we know and we are seeing that implementing sustainability practices is something we can all work towards building, especially as what we do today has a big impact on future generations.

We can all take the responsibility to learn more and adapt our ways to the current trends and act differently. Even if there are many myths that circle around sustainability and ethical business practices, just like in everything else, time and knowledge is what is required to diminish these wrong concepts. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and do not hesitate to let us know what you think or if you know any other myths that you would like us to “debunk”. 

Additional Resources

If you’re new to Business Sustainability and if you are seeking more, in depth, information on the subject, we have written a few more articles in regards to Business Sustainability. Please find them here:

Memorable Quotes on Corporate Social Responsability (CSR), Sustainability and Ethics That We Can All Learn From

In today’s article we have gathered a list of all the memorable quotes that we want to share with you. We use these quotes, from time to time to find inspiration and remind ourselves of what we are accomplishing, everyday.

This article features some of our favorite quotes on Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethics and Sustainability – all very important aspects of a business that we value and work on optimizing and improving on a day to day basis. These quotes demonstrate how important and valuable Corporate Social Responsibility has become. Additionally, they are a reminder that we are responsible for our actions, even if most of the time, we are not aware of that. 

These quotes represent a starting point and they showcase that the direction towards which we are heading is based on what we do and how we build our: communities, businesses and mindset.

We hope you will enjoy these quotes, as much as we do. Before starting, we would like to mention that the quotes are not organized in a particular order and one is not better than the other, based on how they are arranged in this article.

We also want to further mention that this article contains only the quotes in which our Team and CSRgrowth.com resonates with. Corporate Social Responsibility is a vast practice that can represent a different thing for everyone – this being one of the reasons why it is so unique. 

This being said, this article can act as an insight into the way we are thinking at CSRgrowth and how we choose to run our daily activities.

Here is the list of the most memorable quotes we find very insightful on: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability, Business Ethics, ESG & more.

“Creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals – they are both essential ingredients for long-term success.”

Bill Ford

“We hired a CSR person at Twitter, years before we hired our first sales person, to make sure we had a culture and impact of doing good.”

Biz Stone

“I believe that with great wealth comes great responsibility, a responsibility to give back to society and a responsibility to see that those resources are put to work in the best possible way to help those most in need.”

Bill Gates

“I believe social responsibility begins with a strong, competitive company. Only a healthy enterprise can improve and enrich the lives of people and their communities.”

Jack Welch

“Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the center. We believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking.”

Michael Porter

“Economic dynamism can be combined with environmental and social responsibility. High financial returns can go hand in hand with respect for human rights, and the preservation of the planet’s natural resources.”

David Miliband

“I think that today, more so than ever, corporate responsibility is the best strategic as well as financial path that most businesses can follow. For most businesses there are both compelling reasons to be responsible and compelling statistics that validate that responsible businesses do better according to traditional financial metrics. Of course, how you define “responsible” is somewhat of a conundrum.”

Jeffrey Hollender

“Despite their good intentions, today’s businesses are missing an opportunity to integrate social responsibility and day-to-day business objectives – to do good and make money simultaneously.”

Cindy Gallop

“More brands are waking up to their social responsibility and doing good work through cause marketing campaigns. Yet too many still go about it the wrong way. I mean ‘wrong’ in two senses. Firstly, they are marketing ineffectively, and secondly, as a consequence their positive social impact is not maximized.”

Simon Mainwaring

“We need government and business to work together for the benefit of everyone. It should no longer be just about typical “corporate social responsibility” where the “responsibility” bit is usually the realm of a small team buried in a basement office – now it should be about every single person in a business taking responsibility to make a difference in everything they do, at work and in their personal lives.”

Richard Branson

“To build and sustain brands people love and trust, one must focus-not only on today but also on tomorrow. It’s not easy…but balancing the short and long term is key to delivering sustainable, profitable growth-growth that is good for our shareholders but also good for our consumers, our employees, our business partners, the communities where we live and work, and the planet we inhabit”

Irene Rosenfeld

““All company bosses want a policy on corporate social responsibility. The positive effect is hard to quantify, but the negative consequences of a disaster are enormous.”

Noreena Hertz

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity. From discord find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein

“Sustainability takes forever. And that’s the point “

William McDonough

“The key to understanding the future is one word: sustainability.”

Patrick Dixon

“Sustainability: It’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do.”

Hunter Lovins

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. “

Henry Ford

“I admire companies that give back to communities. It is an absolute essential for organizations to watch, mitigate, and improve their impact on the environment, people, communities, their health and overall well-being. But this is a necessary condition, not a sufficient condition.”

Shiv Nadar

“We’ll continue to see more and more brands integrate social causes, charitable components and environmental issues as underlying themes to their campaigns and messaging. Humans connect with humans after all, and brands are using this as a point of connection to engage with their audience, especially charity-minded Generation Y.”

Amy Jo Martin

“Ethics or simple honesty is the building blocks upon which our whole society is based, and business is a part of our society, and it’s integral to the practice of being able to conduct business, that you have a set of honest standards.”

Kerry Stokes

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.“

Jim Rohn

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

We hope you enjoyed this list and that it inspired you to learn more about: CSR, Ethics and Sustainability. We will make sure to update this article with any new quotes we find resonate well with us. Please feel free to let us know if you have any other quotes that you like on this topic.

How To Implement a Business Sustainability Strategy in 2022

If there is something that 2020 taught us, is that we can no longer do things the way we used to. Before 2020, there was no surprise that things were not running as they should, (from many perspectives), however this year confirmed that and alongside the challenging and difficult times that we faced (and are facing), we are in great need of change.

Change does not come easy but it comes with a series of sacrifices that we all should do in order to improve our ways and re-design a world that is growing with us, and not breaking down because of us.

The effects of what we have been doing over the years are seen and have been confirmed by the effects of the pandemic. We are not ready for something that is greater than us and  we are for sure, not ready in difficult times when we are needed. As harsh as that may sound, we have the power to make a change and help create meaningful adjustments that will create and improve the way we run things. 

While good things take time, there are also new views and ways that we can use in order to  reshape and integrate a new way of thinking in the way we run our daily activities and our businesses. In today’s article we are going over the most important ways and reasons on why businesses should start implementing sustainability approaches in the upcoming years and more important, how they should do it. 


As you are already used to, we post regularly on matters of: CSR, business sustainability and stories behind our brand and how we “run things”. In the last article, we wrote about how businesses can adjust their business model in order to highlight their company’s core strengths. You can find the full article here. The reason we mentioned this article is because we are sure that today’s article, alongside the previous written blog post, go hand in hand, as we have been discussing the core weakness that the recent period brought up on our system and business models and how we can adjust to that. Today’s article takes a deeper dive on implementing sustainability approaches within any business model.

We forecast that in the upcoming years, implementing sustainable business approaches will no longer be voluntary, as they will become the norm. We are already seeing this happen, as many countries are working on implementing regulations and pushing towards driving change.

It is important to mention that these changes should be seen and implemented from a strategic standpoint. While this direction is new for many companies and it requires a change in the business model as it requires to implement sustainability practices and align the goals and the objectives of the organization with the general objectives and practices already exciting in the company, it can be done and it can be done successfully. 

How should Businesses Implement Sustainability Practices and Strategies within their organization? 

Here are the steps towards implementing a sustainability approach for the upcoming years

Rethink and Update Your Company’s Business Model and Plan

This is where you start when creating your green strategy and know that this is the first step towards implementing sustainability business practices. 

If you are currently not implementing any sustainability practices, know that by incorporating these new practices, your business model changes almost entirely and you have to be ready for it. 

With this step, you are changing the way your company has been built. It is a big adjustment but with the right mindset and with a dedicated knowledgeable team you can turn your company’s weakness and threats into opportunities and strengths. 

We advise that during this step you are consulting with experts, business strategists and consultants that have experience working with businesses that make sustainability and CSR part of their daily activities.

Revise and rethink your processes

While your business model should cover your processes, we advise that you should spend more time rethinking and redesigning them.

Over the years, we have seen that companies and business owners face the biggest problem here: with their processes. They have a hard time finding ways that make their operations easier without hesitation and frustration.

Your business processes are extremely important as they dictate how your company is: running the operations, how it communicates, how it is being organized and many aspects that are crucial for the success and overall growth of the business. 

Learn to Network, Collaborate and Educate Yourself. 

As we have been seeing, times are changing and right now, with a few clicks we can make connections easily, and with a few more clicks we can find answers to any questions we might have. With changing times, it is equally important to know and be aware of what is happening, what is the direction where we are heading and how we plan to get there.

What we have right now, can be considered a privilege and by creating connections and learning to collaborate and network we can find solutions to situations that we have been postponing and neglecting for far too long.

Education on the topic (or working with leading experts in the field) offers us possibilities that we once considered limitations. Learning about the new standards, guidelines, regulations and terms coming up is equally important in order to be able to implement the necessary change in our businesses. 

Thinking Innovation and Technology 

Implementing sustainability practices does not mean limiting ourselves to previous ways or times where we used less resources.

By being open to implementing innovative and technology based solutions, we help create sustainable practices focused on growing one practice and project at a time.

We need to find more efficient solutions and ways to change what we are doing and be open to embrace innovation and technology in our operations. 

Be equally open to challenges and opportunities

Many companies are hesitant to changing their ways, especially if on their end they see that “things are working” – it goes back to the old saying: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” – The problem with this saying and thinking, is that it limits us from seeing that there is something new and more exciting on the next step.

Changing your business model is without a doubt, challenging but the impact it can have, is equally measurable and can create opportunities towards building a green economy where we all can be part of. It just takes time and dedication.

Want to learn more?

Feel free to check out the following articles to learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Businesses – directly from our CSR Experts.

Adjusting your Business Model to Highlight Your Company’s Core Strengths (After the Impact of COVID -19)

With the risk of being too straightforward: 2020 took many of us by surprise. It came with a lot of challenges but it also shredded some light on areas we can improve. 

When 2020 started, nobody thought it would be a year that would dictate and change significantly the way everything was being handled. No one thought that so many people and businesses would need to reinvent themselves in order to survive and potentially thrive in the near future.  

During the unfortunate play of events, many businesses and people have suffered a great loss and change in the way their daily activities were organized.  

If there is something that COVID-19 has done during this time, is that it showcased the core weakness of our system and business models.

Because of this reason, we are taking the opportunity to help shred some insights. This article is meant to help anyone in need, rethink their business models in order to adjust it to the current circumstances and align with the new changes that are happening in the world.

At CSRgrowth.com, we are proud to say that even before the pandemic, we have built an innovative Business Model that was meant to reshape the way businesses integrated their practices today. Our business model aims to encourage companies to implement different solutions in times of fundamental change and embrace a new way of thinking. This way, we are helping corporations create a sustainable future for the next generations including but not limited to only Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and additional sustainability practices.

In today’s article, we are going over the most important aspects on how you can (and we encourage you to) adjust your business model in order to highlight its core strengths during these uncertain times.

Here are a few points that we will go over:

  • How is adjusting your business model the key to becoming a thriving business.
  • Are your actions limiting your company from growing?
  • Are you knowledgeable of the upcoming trends?

How is adjusting your business model the key to becoming a thriving business.

Without a doubt, your business model is the key that unlocks your business potential and it is no longer a surprise that it requires a continually evolving strategy. 

A business model is meant to be regularly adapted to what is happening around and adjusting what is necessary to both internal and external factors. 

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to check if your business model needs to be refined:

  • Are my customers seeing the value in what our business currently does? Are they contributing to the growth of the company?
  • Is my business impacted negatively by what is currently happening at a macro-economical level? 
  • Do I have any problems adjusting my strategies to meet the supply-demand of what is needed and is what I do still relevant today? Will it be relevant in 5-10 years?
  • How far am I willing to go to make a change in the way we did things if they are no longer working? Am I open to innovation and a change in strategy?
  • Am I able to see my business from a different perspective? We have written an interesting article on seeing CSR from the customer’s perspective  however there are some points that can apply to a whole other business segment.   

A few points to keep in mind:

  • Covid-19 has underlined most of our world’s core weaknesses. How are these weaknesses relating to your business? What problems did the pandemic highlight in your business?  
  • A business model that is not revised regularly can lead to a potential loss.
  • Adjusting your business model is not only practical for surviving but it can lead to expanding opportunities

Are your actions limiting your company from growing?

This very direct question can cover many topics and areas of a business, however it is essential for a company to regularly do a dive check: “Are our actions limiting our company from growing?”

This question not only highlights possible issues that can arise in a company, but it also forces and encourages a new way of assessing and looking at the activities that are being done on a regular basis.

Here are a few examples of questions and areas when our actions could be limiting our company from growing. These questions could go hand in hand with the above notes on refining the business model.

  • Are we spending too much time on unprofitable tasks or projects?
  • Are our employees motivated and working efficiently?
  • Do we have all the resources available to grow?
  • Are we coming up with new innovative practices? 
  • Are we focusing on what really matters? Do we know what matters?
  • Are we contributing in a way that makes a difference?
  • Do we know how we can analyse the data and history we have? 

Are you knowledgeable of the upcoming trends?

It is no longer a surprise that 2020 highlighted that in many ways, we are unprepared for an unfortunate take of events. Because of this reason, we need to learn to be better analysts of what can potentially happen in a few years and how we will be able to react to change.

The way the events played out, forces us to re-evaluate our risks and possible business threats. 

In the big scheme of things, it all goes back to the core and building blocks of a company: our business model, our analysis frameworks and implementation solutions from the experience we gathered.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, it is without a doubt that the recent events have affected everyone in many ways, however we can only act by reacting to what is around us. 

From a business perspective, this means that we can no longer do the same things and expect different results and the outbreak of the coronavirus showed us that. The time has come to see businesses as not only a way and a means to make profit, but to also encourage and drive change. Are we ready?

We can learn to be.