Whoever is confronted for the first time with the task to develop a CSR Strategy for their company, project, start up or corporate from the scratch knows the feeling – white paper alert, being confronted with a vast and opaque djungle of complexity.
Where to start?
Which theory / model to apply?
How to bring structure in this conglomeration of processes, stakeholders, production and consumption locations?
There is no ‘one golden solution’ that applies for all. Unfortunately, also no easy accessible, fast-forward guidelines on which components to involve. At least nothing I found appealing in my own two months research phase that preceded the kick off of my own CSR-analysis and -strategy conception for an internationally operating food start up.
Which makes sense, since every company and every project is different and consists of its own, unique composition of suppliers and audience, markets and funding, operating and planning.
So, if you want to make it right, there is no copy-paste from an already existing model.
But, no worries – there definitely are guidelines which you can follow and / or take as inspiration.
Here are the core learnings of my path ‘from white paper’ to a CSR strategy, which can serve your company as a business model as well as decision criteria for day to day operations and future strategic planning decisions.
I) If it doesn’t exist yet, brainstorm with your team – what are the mission, the values and the purpose of your enterprise?
II) Figure out which CSR-Standard fits your needs, and the ultimate goal of your company, best
III) Choose the components out of one or several CSR-Standards that are most relevant
a) for your company in general
b) for the social and ecological output and impact of your company
IV) Diminuish them: Create out of the previous steps’ results 3 to max. 7 components that will be the core of your CSR analysis. Describe in short detail of which processes / products / actions etc. every of the components consists of.
V) Analyse the BASELINE – How is you company performing right now in these components?
VI) Find out the VISION or Best Case / Perfect World Scenario of all employees – How would their mostly preferred work tasks / working environment / work outcomes look like for them?
VII) Identify the GAPS between ‘Is’ and ‘Vision’
VIII) Create an ACTION PLAN on how to fill these gaps
= SMART Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic or relevant and time-based)
= one main goal for every component
= plus: smaller goals
- divided in short, middle and long term. Nice to have: super fancy future
IX) Make the strategy a LIVING one and awake the intrinsic motivation of all employees to take part in making the plan a reality
= 3 self-chosen CSR Goals for every individual
= committee that checks on the KPI of the goals and their accomplishment rate
= adjust the goals to changing circumstances / already achieved steps
= yearly checking of the strategy in the big term – celebrating fulfilled ones and add new tasks
X) Write a REPORT on your findings, your plan and your goals. Publish (a shorter form) of it online. Update the report yearly / every two years
(a good time to add your successes, progress and new goals)
It’s not only about sharing is caring – your customers will appreciate your openness and develop more trust and connection to your brand once you publish your efforts to achieve better and to a better social and ecological impact. Why not celebrating who you are and what you care about!
For a deeper understanding of CSR and support in developing your own corporate strategy, please do not hesitate to contact me.