Bill Shannon of Shannon’s way explains how Toll Holdings used corporate responsibility strategically.
How does a company go about setting a CR strategy? The Australian Institute for Corporate Responsibility – formed by the alliance of Shannon’s Way, Deloitte and Our Community – has developed a framework based on CR initiatives in eight areas. For each, a range of best-practice actions are recommended, ranging from low-cost, low-effort starters to those that are high-cost and high-effort.
By tackling all areas simultaneously, a company can achieve an integrated, sustainable CR strategy. The areas are environmental sustainability, human rights, community engagement, workforce, socially responsible investment, good governance, addressing systemic disadvantage, and social marketing.
One corporation, Toll Holdings, is setting an example. Ten years ago, Toll became involved with “The First Step Program”, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support services for people who are dependent on drugs and alcohol.
Toll encouraged its employees to apply their skills in areas such as business management, HR and IT services to help First Step develop into a fully functioning, well-resourced drug recovery program.
Toll went ahead to employ from this organization. The Australian Institute of Corporate Responsibility explains the eight pyramids and the opportunities available in each one of them.
All businesses should be implementing the most basic practices – the “Dead-Set Winners” – in each of the eight Pyramids: reducing energy, paper and water consumption; not discriminating against employees or potential employees; supporting the local community; enforcing strict health and safety standards; etc.
As you develop and refine your corporate responsibility programs and practice, you can begin to work your way up through the “Good Practice” ideas – those which require moderate investment – and on to the “Cutting Edge” ideas. Assess which of the eight pillars best align with your company’s values and work to embed and consolidate your efforts in one or two of those areas before moving on to the others.
Businesses aiming for an integrated and defendable corporate responsibility strategy should be working across all eight focus areas – environment, human rights, community, workforce, investment, governance, systemic disadvantage and social marketing – simultaneously. It is unlikely that you will reach to the top in all areas at once. Once you are working across the middle sections of the pyramids, assess which of the eight pillars best align with your company’s values and work to embed and consolidate your efforts in one or two of those areas before moving on to the others.