Workshop on assessing the performance of your CSR strategy

Summary

EEM delivered a half-day workshop hosted by Événements Les Affaires at their Corporate Social Responsibility conference in February 2016. The 3-hour workshop focused on assessing the performance of a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.Sustainable Development is often considered an added cost, not an investment. Directors seek a better understanding of the potential benefits associated to a more active management of their corporate social responsibility and how sustainability initiatives can contribute to the prosperity of the company. Beyond a financial calculation of return on investment, how can the success of a CSR strategy be gauged?

Approach and Solution

Participants were already familiar with the concepts of sustainable development but were looking for ways to demonstrate the benefits of adopting a sustainable development approach for their businesses.
EEM broke down the process into a series of questions:

  • For whom are you measuring? An exercise to identify your stakeholders and their principal concerns. This improved understanding of who is judging your CSR performance and to what end.
  • How can you bring that down to something manageable? An exercise to assess the materiality of issues to measure and report on.
  • How do you measure? A presentation of different types of indicators and questions related to quality of information, comparability, measurement over time, normalization, using dashboards, etc.
  • Is it enough? An exploration on whether reporting on the company’s key performance indicators is sufficient. Adopting a sustainable development approach also involves measuring externalities, bringing them to the attention of decision-makers and mitigating risks.
  • What communication tools can be used? Insights into adapting information and communication tools for different audiences and stakeholder groups.

Results

Attendees were from across Quebec’s business community and included private enterprise, non-profits and even government representatives charged with accelerating the adoption of sustainable development practices by business.
From the feedback received, the combination of exercises and presentations was considered successful in meeting the teaching objectives of the workshop and elicited useful contributions from the different participants.

Case studies

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