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CSR and Sustainability

Constructing a simple business case for sustainability and corporate responsibility

Ghana, potential for regional sustainability leadership

Last week in Accra I helped run an executive training programme with McGill University and the CSR Training Institute for around 40 executives. I’ve blogged on this before so I won’t go into huge detail in this post.

Ministers of Government, senior officials, corporate execs from 15 countries all took part. It was a fascinating week. More, here. The next version of this will be held in London on June 17-18.

Here’s a link to my “History of Corporate Responsibility” presentation which I used to kick things off in Accra last week. It’s an updated version of one I produced last year. More of these sorts of slide decks can be found here.

Accra has potential to be the hub in West Africa to drive and catalyse sustainable business related thinking across the region. But much needs to be done at home first. I spent some time with a couple of cabinet ministers who are both aware of the challenges and enthusiastic about practical solutions. More on that later this year I hope.

Back to the title of this post, above.

Here below is one of the exercises I used for group work to get the Accra attendees thinking about how to make a simple business case to their boss, beyond entry level work.

It may be useful for some readers, it may not. Anyhow, I’d be interested in comments as to what’s missing:

Task outline:

• We are a group of managers in an oil services company in West Africa.
• We’re about 1000 employees, growing fast and profitable
• Our CEO built the company up himself, now it will sign some big supply/service contracts with major oil companies.
• Up until now our mentality has been one of compliance. We did only what we had to do to meet local content, impact assessment or environmental regulations. We have only a few employees working on these issues.
• Now our CEO has asked us for a short, one/two page document about what we should do to be a more responsible company. He wants to use that to develop his thoughts on a more engaged strategy.

What shall we tell him? Where do we start?

We want him to think about some fundamentals, and some detail. We need him to understand risk, but also opportunity.

What’s our checklist?

Groups had 30 minutes to come up with their “one pager” of bullets.

Here’s what I threw into the mix at the end:

How about these twelve steps as things to think about for the CEO:

1. Vision, Mission, Purpose, Values, Strategy – Do we need to rethink these?
2. Internal Risk and Opportunity Assessment – We should undertake this
3. External Risk and Opportunity Assessment – Ditto
4. Stakeholder Mapping and Internal/External Engagement Exercise
5. Priority list or ‘Materiality’ exercise
6. Development of Key Targets: Where we want to be in five years?
7. Policy Development to Support Targets
8. Internal Resource Allocation & Hiring to Support Rollout
9. Roll out, Measurement and testing ambitious Pilot Projects for quick scaling
10. Reporting and Accountability, Communications, Data flow and Engagement for Innovation
11. Industry, Government Engagement on Collaborative Solutions for Scale
12. Constant Review of our Ambitions: Where/How can we do more?

The class I ran in Accra last week had a few to add to this. The order could be re-done I am sure.

Further thoughts as comments will all be published below.

Here’s the first presentation I gave in Accra, mentioned above, embedded below:

1 Comment

  1. Nice post Tobias. I am very interested in the intersection of CSR and communications including HR communications. I recently wrote a blog outlining a high level strategy for creating what I call a Values- Based Communications Platform and was hoping to run it past you to see what you think and see if others are taking similar approaches. Thanks so much.