Megatrend #1 – Clear purpose: Put purpose before profit, and make money anyway
It is not enough to aim at boosting the financial bottom line or creating value for shareholders alone. Commercial companies have to work with purposes that have more vigour and appeal to both the hearts and minds of their stakeholders. They can no longer sit back when it comes to tackling social or environmental issues. Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) has to be integrated as an active part of the company’s business strategy. Ultimately, CSR must become (a part of) the company’s business model.
Examples for inspiration: Read about the new business mindset here, cases Danish low-cost mobile company Call Me, the world’s biggest carpet manufacturer Interface - or get inspiration from the co-operative movement.
Megatrend #2 – Corporate engagement: Turn your employees into CSR managers.
The top-down approach to CSR cannot stand alone. If CSR politics and code of conduct must come to life, employees need to be given a voice, and must be actively involved, no matter where in the company they are placed – accounting, marketing, HR or production. In that way, the CSR mindset will be integrated into the corporate culture; employees will be more motivated, when their ideas for, for example, energy savings are being heard. It simply makes good business sense to get your employees onboard.
Megatrend #3 – Collaborative co-creation: Shared-value partnerships with social entrepreneurs.
The classic philanthropical exchange of money versus values is not sustainable. Shared value partnerships between commercial companies and social entrepreneurs will pave the way for new solutions that solve both social issues and creates economic value = corporate social innovation. Many social entrepreneurs haven’t yet met their full potential, because they lack the resources or business skills competences, and commercial companies often need a shot of new energy, values and knowledge from outsiders in order to innovate.
Megatrend #4 – Clear communication: Goodbye to CSR reporting – hello to social media
Nobody reads CSR reports anyway (besides job applicants, students and CSR consultants). Using social media for online reporting opens up to new possibilities for social interaction and engagement. Companies can build in a feedback loop, so that they not just communicate, what they are doing, but also interact with their stakeholders – both internally and externally.
We have spotted the four CSR megatrends for 2013 through the lens of our model The 4 Cornerstones of Sustainable Business Success. Read more about the 4Cs here.
PS. Want to read a Danish version of this blogpost? Then check out Tania Ellis’ blogpost for CSR.dk here