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Little Find

Ho-lis-tic CSR

The impact of the pandemic and recent events such as the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted the inefficiency of CSR siloed departments (basement floor, third door on the left). How can we see the bigger picture — and include everyone in it?

CSR departments are often under-budgeted, giving with one hand what business takes with the other. Since they’re so disconnected from core operations, heir efforts often give rise to skepticism. A group of researchers is proposing a more integrated approach. 

Although the researchers focused in particular on racial justice and health equity in the US, their suggestions can also be applied to other social issues. The key is to adopt a holistic approach that prioritizes internal coordination and collaboration in five stages: 

  1. The commitment to equity must be embedded in the corporate culture. 
  2. It must be driven by, and embodied in, a leader who organizes the resources to plan and execute it. 
  3. The internal collaboration and coordination that underpins it must be ensured at every level. 
  4. Two-way communication must be established between leaders, often far from the field, and those who have a front-row seat. 
  5. The impact needs to be measured. 

Is putting CSR issues at the heart of your business complicated? Does it take time? Yes, like any fundamental change. 

To go further

“A ‘Whole Company’ Approach for Justice and Equity”

by Emma-Louise Aveling, Jane Roberts, Lauren A. Taylor, Amy C. Edmondson and Sara J. Singer (MIT Sloan Management Review, December 2020). 

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.