Building the Corporate Responsibility Profession – Join The Webinar

For the last couple of years I have chaired the professional development committee of the Corporate Responsibility Officers Association.  With colleagues from Cisco, Hess Oil, Boeing, Molson Coors, Crowe Horwath and Harvard (and workshops at CRO conferences to gain a broader input),  we have been trying to make a start at defining what it means to be a corporate responsibility practitioner.

I believe the CR practice is here to stay. We need to forge our own path and stake our claim to our part in the corporate dynamics, alongside the folks who look after the money, the legal requirements, the technology, the information, the markets, the investors and the employees. And from my perspective we are not going to do it effectively if we don’t have a level of professional recognition comparable with the importance of the subject.

To this end, the committee has developed a guidebook to structuring and staffing corporate responsibility, and a draft ethics code, to help provide the foundation for the continuing development of the field.

It is hard!   Not everyone we have spoken with believes the field needs to continue.  The cynics still tell me that ‘corporate’ and ‘responsibility’ are a contradiction in terms.  Some supporters believe, quite rationally, that once the values are embedded, there is no longer a need for a separate practice (quality management is often used as an analogy).  Others, me included, see new societal and environmental needs will emerge continually, requiring an ongoing expertise and approach that is ‘beyond compliance’. But how to capture that in a practice description when there are still many different ways the role is practiced?

We have made a first attempt in the resources we have produced and we will be hearing from a panel with a broad range of perspectives and who were not themselves involved in the development of the materials (and so are independent!) in a free webinar on June 1 “Building the Corporate Responsibility Profession”   I hope you will join us.  You can sign up here.

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