We’re living through a momentous shift in the relationship between business and society. As Yunus Social Business explains, “Businesses are under increasing scrutiny from their employees, their customers and governments to help solve the global challenges we face in the world. Limiting the harm a business causes to our planet and society is no longer enough – real transformation means creating positive social and environmental value for society.”
That also means that CSR is shifting from a “nice to have” add on to an essential strategic function. Investors and corporate executives are increasing their focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, and many CSR leaders are stepping up to help address these needs. Take, for example, SAP, which has partnered with its executive team to set ESG spending targets, and has once again achieved the highest score in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Now more than ever, CSR leaders are uniquely positioned to make their companies more sustainable from the inside out by building and championing programs that leverage the companies unique resources to affect systemic change that drives progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
We’ve rounded up our top 10 blog posts from 2021 to help you become an even more effective agent of change in 2022:
1. How Social Enterprise Thinking is Shaping the Future of Work Across Sectors
According to Deloitte’s 2021 Human Capital Trends report, “the shift from ‘survive’ to ‘thrive’ depends on an organization becoming—and remaining—distinctly human at its core.” Being distinctly human-centered at the core is the essence of what it means to be a social enterprise, and over the last year, we’ve seen organizations of all types incorporating principles of social enterprise thinking to make thriving possible in the new normal. These include: designing work for wellbeing, unleashing workforce potential through agency and choice, “superteams” that pair people with technology in new ways, shifting from retrospective to forward-looking metrics, and a strengths-based approach to human resource management. Read the full article here.
2. How Social Enterprises Are Changing the World Economy (And Why Corporations Should Embrace Them)
To figure out how the private sector could best partner with the social sector to drive change on a global scale, we interviewed over 50 CSR leaders, as well as 25 other corporate, impact investing, social enterprise, and government leaders. We compiled our findings into the new research report “Can Capitalism Lead a More Sustainable and Equitable Recovery?” You can access the full report here and find a summary of key findings here.
3. Five Industry Leading CSR Programs – But Not For the Reasons You Think
Consumers, employees, and other stakeholders are becoming increasingly adept at telling the difference between greenwashing and truly impactful programming. Based on our research, best CSR programs are ones that align board and executive level compensation with SDG targets, have a CSR position on the executive team with board reporting requirements, expand CSR strategy to intersect with all business units, and that invest in procurement, supply chains, and distribution chains to partner based on social impact, not just margins. Find five examples of programs that fit this criteria in the full article here.
4. The Future of CSR: Inside Microsoft’s MySkills4Afrika Program
Through its MySkills4Afrika program, Microsoft helps individuals and organizations build capacity to scale solutions by Africans for Africa, creating long-term sustainable impact in a way that advances its own sustainability and employee engagement goals. This kind of initiative — in which business objectives and social impact targets mutually reinforce, rather than compete with, each other — represents the future of corporate social responsibility, and should be looked upon as an example for other companies to emulate. Read the full profile here.
5. What Social Procurement Is (And Why So Many Corporate Leaders Are Talking About It)
In recent years, social enterprise engagement with corporate business has moved from CSR to procurement. Social procurement often involves CSR personnel making introductions and reporting social impact, but when a company is purchasing goods or services from a social enterprise, the transaction may have more value than a donation. This represents a tremendous opportunity for both social enterprises to scale their impact and revenues, and for corporations to achieve their ESG targets and improve supply chain sustainability and transparency. Find out what you need to know to take advantage of the growth in “social procurement,” including trends to watch, in the full article here.
6. What Business Leaders Need to Know About the Great Resignation
Adapting your company to the “New Normal” of work may seem like a barrier to forward progress, but in the long-term, it’s just the opposite. And the companies who start taking meaningful action now to create the opportunities for purpose and impact that employees crave will find themselves better positioned to not only weather the Great Resignation, but to emerge as a leader once the dust has settled. Find 5 specific recommendations to help you stave off employee turnover in the full article here.
7. 12 Steps to Implement ESG Reporting
Companies report that one of the biggest challenges to advancing sustainability is embedding it deeply within operations, strategies, and supply chains. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting is designed to do exactly that. If you’ve been thinking about implementing ESG reporting at your own company and/or working to make it more effective, this article contains 12 steps to follow, based on our MovingWorlds Guide: What ESG Reporting Is, and How To Do It.
8. The Latest Research on Corporate-Social Enterprise Partnerships
Forward-thinking companies are increasingly interested in and committed to partnering with social enterprises along their value chains. Two new pieces of research – the Social Procurement Manual from Yunus Social Business and Acumen’s Corporate Readiness Report – shed additional light on the promise of social procurement, and what it takes in practice to realize that potential from both the corporate perspective and social enterprise perspective. Find key takeaways from both reports, and what they mean together, in the full article here.
9. How and Why Companies Partner With Social Enterprises
One of our most popular Industry Leader webinars last year was “How and Why Companies Partner With Social Enterprises,” where we hosted leaders from Resonance, IKEA, & Industree Foundation to discuss the findings of their latest research report, “Catalyzing Collaboration.” Find insider tips on building the business case for social procurement, recommendations for effective partnership development, and a case study in the full article here.
10. 7 Examples of Social Enterprises Scaling Through Corporate Partnerships
Increasingly, large corporations want to do good and support social enterprises. Procurement leaders in companies are invested in finding the right social enterprise partners, but it also means that social enterprises need to come with the right solution, value proposition, and systems to do business with them. See 7 examples of values-aligned, cross-sector partnerships in the full article here.
Looking for more customized support scaling social impact programs that achieve ESG targets, build your brand, and engage employees? Learn more about our CSR services for corporations.