A Look Back at CSR in 2010

At the beginning of 2010 (feels like last week doesn’t it ), I wrote a post on what I thought I would be writing about during the year.  I just reviewed it. My performance against my anticipated topics was mixed!

Regaining Trust – I focused on this in the early part of the year, helped by the opportunity I had to deliver the keynote at the PR News CSR awards, where trust and authenticity were my main theme. It is interesting to observe the ebb and flow of public interest in the theme. However, although I think trust as a topic has moved back from front stage, I consider that trust is central to the dilemmas in the WikiLeaks controversy.

I had an opportunity to address stakeholder engagement though participation in the Solutions Labs. This post summarized my thoughts.    I continue to be perplexed with even with my own behavior that varies according to which stakeholder hat I am wearing.  I feel sure there is an opportunity in here somewhere for corporate responsibility practitioners to increase the interest in CR across a broader range of our stakeholders but I cannot identify exactly how to leverage it.

Terminology – In my posts Sustainability is Overrated and Ethics Trumps Sustainability I articulated my view that the overarching theme of our practice is corporate responsibility with ethics being the main determinant of what we should and shouldn’t do. I see the focus on sustainability as an ethical decision society has made that we should respect the needs of future generations. I think now that this is about much more than terminology. It is a hierarchy of priorities we need to follow to ensure we take the broad perspective and continue to look to the horizon for what is next, as today’s issues become business as usual.

The role of the CR practitioner – I have been putting a lot of effort into this although not so much through my blog.  I chair the professional development committee of the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association and hopefully before the end of the calendar year we will post the committee’s first major work product – a workbook for practitioners of job descriptions, role descriptions and associated KSAs.   More to follow…..

Public versus private companies – I wanted to write more on this, as I continue to feel it is an important topic, but just didn’t have the opportunity or specific inspiration during the year.  This post about the downside of transparency is maybe the closest I got to it.   Public companies are more transparent than private, but I as I say in this post, I think that transparency can sometimes be counterproductive.  Maybe more on this in 2011?

Measurement – this certainly turned out to be a big topic for me this year.  After a number of blogs on the topic, I consolidated some of my thoughts around a presentation I had the opportunity to deliver at CSR and the Sustainability Scorecard in San Francisco in October. Much of my career has been in product management so I certainly appreciate and understand the importance of measurement, but I fear that without careful implementation of measures and targets we may set up conflicts with some of the other underlying values of CR. I am anticipating writing more about this in 2011.

The nice thing about a blog is that I can write about things as they take my interest. Hopefully looking back they hang together. Please let me know whether you think they do!

In January I will post a new list of my anticipated themes for 2011.

  1. Comments 2

  2. Christina 6:07 pm on December 26, 2010

    Hi Kevin, I've just stumbled upon your great blog for CSR! Your posts are great starting points for discussions and give a very holistic view of what it means for corporations to be responsible. Of course, the field is changing so fast so there is always more to write about! As a budding PR professional, I'm really interested in CSR and how best to align it with corporations' missions. Since my background is in design, and not in PR, I was wondering if you could give me some career advice on how to transition. Without going into too much detail, I graduated a year ago and just finished a PR internship. What kind of a position would be a good jumping off point to developing a career in CSR? Also, what kind of publications/books/blogs should I be following? This may not be the typical comment you were expecting, but I thought I'd give it a shot! I really appreciate your help. Thanks! Best, Christina cechang55@gmail.com

  3. KevinMoss 7:39 am on December 27, 2010

    Hi Christina, my approach is that corporate responsibility is not going to be delivered by the few people in each company who are specialists. Rather it is going to be delivered by the people who really run the business, deliver products and services, make money and support customers. These people will deliver it by implementing corporate responsibility principles into the way they carry out their roles. Hence I see my role as to be a catalyst (and failing that an irritant !). My advice to you would be to try to work in the field you have studied, for an organization whose mission you believe in and that doesn't compromise your principles. Apply ethical and sustainable principles to what you do and how you do it. There may comes a point where you can move into a CR role and your experience will be invaluable, but you may also find that you are achieving more in the CR space through being a PR professional or designer - I think you will, and there are certainly more jobs in PR and design than in CR !

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