How CEO’s Can Leave a Legacy of CSR, Innovation: The Executive Guide to Creating a CSR Culture

Executive How-To Guide from the Network for Business Sustainability
Dec 13, 2010 8:00 AM ET

(3BL Media/theCSRfeed) LONDON, ON, CANADA - December 13, 2010 - Executives can ensure their companies remain innovative long after they depart, thanks to a study of more than 13,000 academic and industry publications which was released today. 

Called “Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture”, the study was conducted by the Network for Business Sustainability, a Canadian non-profit funded by academic research grants and private and public partners.   “This research takes a large and sometimes confusing body of information and synthesizes it into a holistic – yet practical – framework for building sustainability into a business,” said Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environment Officer for TD Bank Group and a member of the Network’s Leadership Council.     According to a 2010 Accenture global survey, 93% of CEO’s see sustainability as key to their future success. But they worry their company’s sustainability culture will wither with their departure – or the departure of a key leader. Plus they’re torn between conventional tactics such as reporting and compliance and innovative approaches that expose new markets and create new products.   “Compliance in the absence of innovation means you’re operating in yesterday’s economy and will be left behind,” said study author Stephanie Bertels, PhD. “However, innovation in the absence of compliance exposes you to risk. My research presents a framework for balancing both. ”   Bertels is an assistant professor at SFU Business, Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada) and a Topic Editor for the Network for Business Sustainability. Her study was commissioned by the Network’s Leadership Council, a group of private, public, and non-profit organizations. The council identified “Building an Enduring, Durable Culture of Sustainability” as one of their top priorities for 2010.   Bertels found that formal tactics like HR policies, pay incentives, and CSR reports enable employees to meet emissions levels or comply with safety standards. But they don’t improve business processes or create new products. True innovation requires experimentation:   “Executives should complement traditional tactics with less conventional ones,” said Bertels.”In addition to, say, creating codes of conduct and offering training programs, consider hosting product development challenges or funding department-specific pilot programs. You may be surprised by the results.”   Bertels’ report provides a useful planning tool for senior leaders charged with shaping their company’s corporate culture.   --30 –   Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture: Systematic Review (73 pages) Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture: Executive How-To Guide (20 pages) Stephanie Bertels, PhD is available for interviews at: 604-551-5832 or Karen Clarke-Whistler is available for interviews by contacting: Megan Hooper, Media Relations, TD Bank Group, 416-982-4725,