Posts Tagged ‘ governance ’

Dealing with Despots

Each day, the Globe and Mail – one of Canada’s national newspapers – runs a reader poll on a “hot topic.”  Today, in light of current events in Libya and elsewhere, the poll, under the heading “Dealing with Despots,” asks readers, “What is the most important duty for a Canadian business operating in an authoritarian country?” and provides the following response options:

  • To keep corrupt elites from looting revenues owed to locals
  • To protest when human rights abuses are detected
  • To provide local development to workers and communities
  • To insist on democracy development
  •  

    The very structure of the response options reveals one of the most egregious and persistent misperceptions of corporate responsibility: that it’s fundamentally an “OR” decision, that we can either make money and protect our investment or we can fight corruption, protect human rights, promote democracy, and provide community benefits, implying that these actions do not contribute to return on investment.

    In fact, taking a proactive stance on issues of corruption, human rights, community development, and governance can help to establish a more stable government and regulatory regime, build social capital among affected stakeholders, and secure a licence to operate, all enhancing the likelihood of protecting the original corporate investment and achieving a positive ROI. Click here to read more about the poll and its results

    The Optimistic Responsibility Advocate

    As you might surmise from the time that has elapsed since my last post, I’ve been busy! Before another month goes by, however, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about some of the projects and initiatives I’m working on that have taken up so much of my time lately, and share some observations I’ve made along the way.

    Sustainable Building

    Courtesy of CMLC

    In 2007, the City of Calgary established the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation to oversee the community revitalization of the Rivers District in the City Centre.  East Village, the birthplace of Calgary, had, over the years, become neglected and characterized by crime, social issues, and infrastructure problems.   CMLC has developed a new Master Plan for the area, which envisions a prosperous, mixed-use, sustainable community in Calgary’s downtown core.  Since last year, I’ve been working with CMLC to develop a sustainability strategy that will help translate that vision into reality on the ground.   Read on – it’s worth it!

    Advice for the Shoestring Practitioner: Sustainability Mapping

    Are you a Shoestring Practitioner?  A Shoestring Practitioner is someone with a passion for doing good, for doing the right thing, for doing things better, but who is working on a shoestring:  constrained in his or her efforts by a lack of resources, such as staff, time, money, or organizational support.  This post is intended for the Shoestring Practitioner, especially one who is at or near the beginning of a sustainability journey in their organization, but may also be helpful to others trying to advance a corporate responsibility (CR) strategy.  I prepared this post in response to questions received through my network about how to engage employees in CR planning.

    In an earlier post [Should sustainability have a seat in the C-suite? December 1, 2010], I talked about the need to develop a fulsome understanding of the sustainability landscape in order to guide decisions about corporate responsibility (CR) strategy.  A comprehensive and well-founded CR strategy will be informed by current and future business drivers pertinent to sustainability, including evolving regulatory frameworks, changing stakeholder expectations (including, but by no means limited to customers), emerging standards and best practice, pressing risks and opportunities, and the organization’s own capacities and competitive positioning.  It must also consider, especially in a complex, diverse organization, the range of perspectives and opinions, the differences in awareness and understanding about CR and sustainability issues that may exist among the employees who will eventually be responsible for implementing a CR strategy, as well as among other key stakeholder groups.

    A key component of sustainability mapping is stakeholder engagement, particularly internal employee engagement.  Employees can provide unique insight into current and emerging challenges and opportunities, shed light on existing organizational strengths and weaknesses, and highlight areas where CR and sustainability programming could advance strategic business goals.  Moreover, early employee engagement around CR and sustainability issues increases the relevance of strategies developed in response to their input and the likelihood of later buy-in and support.

    While sustainability mapping can be a significant undertaking, especially in a large organization, employee engagement is something the Shoestring Practitioner often can tackle on their own, with limited resources.  Click here to learn how…

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