Strong heritage, committed to doing good
Companies and people probably do not fully realize how much social responsibility, or caring for environmental and social aspects next to economic value, is something that is ingrained in their fibre. A number of companies even have a strong heritage of doing good, dating back centuries. Think of William Lever, one of the founders of Unilever, who was not only a businessman, but a philanthropist and politician as well.
Furthermore, many sustainable issues have already been addressed. Sometimes directly, like lower carbon emissions or establishing a ‘green team’, or maybe via a different route. Think of diversity, training of employees or child labour. For companies, these issues are ‘normal’, but it’s good to be aware that they are part of being sustainable and can be embedded in a sustainable strategy. That notion also opens up the possibility of further increasing your impact.
Thirdly, but not least: employees care about social and environmental issues. They do and take action when not at work, as a volunteer for a charity organisation or by supporting goals for good causes. This happens at all levels, but you can utilise the drive and enthusiasm of your employees.
Use what you have
To get a good insight in what’s already happening, you can do three things:
- look at the heritage of your company and identify how you have made a positive impact in the past;
- review all activities that have already been taken, from lower carbon emissions, sustainable buildings and a ‘green team’ to diversity, employee development and fair operating policies. The assessment you took can be very helpful as a tool to identify activities per issue;
- get an overview of everything your employees already do and consider how these activities can be aligned with your own approach and/or facilitate employees to do good.
Some of the more established activities are addressed in the next cases: CSR policy, Carbon footprint, Sponsoring and Voluntary Services.