Pushing the C-Suite towards social responsibility

Jul 6, 2011 1:00 PM ET


This is the first in a 3=part series about pushing a company's C-level executives toward social responsibility. It was originally published on the CSRHUB Blog

By Bahar Gidwani

Recently, CSRHUB has seen and learned a few things about how to push the C-Suite (the CEO, CFO, CMO, etc.) of a company to commit to sustainability and CSR (corporate social responsibility).  We will discuss three “Cs” for effecting this change—Cajoling, Calculating, and Competition—and make some recommendations about how best to employ them. 

Cajoling has been the traditional approach to pushing the C-Suite towards CSR.  Investors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have used letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, and shareholder resolutions to get the attention of the C-Suite for the issues they champion.  There have also been “nudges” from popular business books and consultants, and we know of cases where the spouses, children, or parents of C-people have prompted them to shift their views. 

Sometimes a fresh face at the C level or a new board member seems to encourage a fresh look at a company’s goals.  Two recent Catalyst studies showed that companies that have more women board members generate higher returns on investment, sales growth, and returns on their assets.  

Continue reading about pushing company social responsibility through C-level executives.   

 Bahar Gidwani is a Cofounder and CEO of CSRHUB. Formerly, he was the CEO of New York-based Index Stock Imagery, Inc, from 1991 through its sale in 2006. He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site. Bahar holds a CFA, was a partner at Kidder, Peabody & Co., and worked at McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to both large companies such as Citibank, GE, and Acxiom and a number of smaller software and Web-based companies. He has an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BS in Astronomy and Physics (magna cum laude) from Amherst College. Bahar races sailboats, plays competitive bridge, and is based in New York City.

CSRHUB is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings tool that allows managers, researchers, consultants, academics and activists to track the CSR and sustainability performance of major companies. We aggregate data from more than 100 sources to provide our users with a comprehensive source of CSR information on nearly 5,000 publicly traded companies in 65 countries. CSRHUB is a B Corporation. Browse our ratings at www.csrhub.com