CSR 2020: Visions for the Future4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Wayne Visser (CSR International) invited me to be part of the CSR International Crowdsources Research on the Future of Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility.
You can read my contributions below:
Please read the views of others CSR and sustainability specialists participating in the study on the dedicated website.
Past to Present: What has changed?
Are ISO 26000, integrated reporting, and the circular economy the biggest advancements in the past 5 years? If not, what else?
What I think has changed and can bring important effects is the determination of the European Union in terms of CSR. I hope to see a large and sustained movement in the years coming from EU initiatives. I also believe that the UN Global Compact is still a program worth investing because it has major benefits internationally.
I believe that nationally ( in Romania ) ISO 26000 is an obstacle to promoting investments in non -financial value creation – rather than a tool to reduce the negative impact of the private sector. It will be used more as an excuse / justification for public statements about the degree of responsibility of the organization , but in reality fails to change anything in the operation and its results. At international level , whether it will be widely used as other ISO standards (although I do not think this will happen ) can bring benefits, but the chances are minimal. I see ISO 26000 as a created thing against natural law , a wheel in corners without all the components , which is thrown into the arena direct flight with much older inventions at race speed. It is clear that the initiative was one that came from a desire to do well , but I think it lacked a clear definition of needs and a set of direct beneficiaries to take advantage of the ” product ” to ” buy it ” to finance development and existence both financially and in terms of legitimacy . Unfortunately not received ISO 26000 Sustainable planning for himself and has not seem likely to resist.
I do not want to be a pessimist in this discussion , but when it comes to integrated reporting I think for Romania ( and I’m sure not just us) is in reality the greatest threat to a change in the economic environment and the way in which organizations to run their operations understand in a responsible manner. Given that market maturity in CSR issues is very low at this time, even for GRI reporting , integrated reporting can be a burden so great that any company will not understand what is happening , what’s the point and why engage in such a process . There are arguments pro and cons, but I strongly believe that for a market that is not yet mature critical reporting systems can help organizations change only if they are simple , inexpensive and easy to implement , transparent in terms of the need for change organizational . I do not think however that provides integrated reporting any of these benefits.
Although standardization, systematization and detailing (almost mathematical) of a huge number of sustainability indicators in the private sector, I think this is the field of management that started from the human desire to do good. Relied and will continue based on creativity, innovation and added value brought by the people. For this we need freedom of speech and creative thinking – as opposed to standardization and restricting thought. Development must come from the company’s employees (those whose actions and decisions define really) and not the systems, procedures and decisions of the board or the CEO. Organizations are teams of people, not numbers, logos or documents.
Future Vision for 2020
Will sustainable innovation, stakeholder crowd ratings, and long-term capitalism be the biggest trends of the next 5 years? If not, what else?
Looking to 2020 I see innovation.
Innovation will occur primarily after delegating CSR responsibilities to all employees. Everyone can easily understand why it’s good to contribute to sustainability in their personal space (non-working time). What we do not understand yet as employees is that there is no argument to prove that our behavior at work must be different (in terms of values, principles and ethics). When in 8 hours at work we will have normality sustainable behavior, our decisions and our actions will transform the organization in which we work in a sustainable one. We’ll see then the leaders of a new wave – employees who innovate in the field of sustainability even though not part of the CSR department nor a special committee appointed, but because they feel and they think it’s the normal behaviour. These innovations will flood the economic environment, and if we turn them to case studies (like an open source market) – we have the opportunity of significant contributions to sustainability from the private sector.
Also naturally degree of interest of stakeholders will increase. I hope that their involvement and desire to increase cooperation. It is currently at a low level – characterized by destructive criticism.
A good news, though hard to imagine it would be to see CEOs and board committees mandated minimum of 10 years (not to work, but to be responsible and involved in the sustainability of the organization for which they worked). Short mandates are the main problem in the management of organizations.