Transformative CSR

CSR, which stood for Corporate Social Responsibility in the past, now stands for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, which is the transformative version, a.k.a. CSR 2.0. CSR can be clarified as an organization’s commitment to consider the wellbeing of their customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and the ecosystem and also to consider the social and environmental concerns of their core business activities. To simply put it, it’s the way they make money. And by combining CSR with the core business practices and stakeholder management, organizations could accomplish the ultimate goal of creating both social value and corporate value. Therefore you can also say that CSR is not about being less bad but being good.

CSR 2.0 focuses on identifying and confronting the root causes of the existing unsustainability and irresponsibility by transforming business models, changing their processes or products or services and promoting for progressive corporate policies. Transformative CSR is to be everywhere, in everything a company does, from going paper-less, saving energy, reducing use of polythene, managing a company’s logistics efficiently to save money, energy and time etc which are applicable to any business process, product or service at every stage.

The previously practiced CSR which is also referred to as CSR 1.0, focused on philanthropy at micro level, supporting social or environmental issues that happened to align corporate leader’s vision, without changing the overall strategy. But transformative CSR focuses on understanding the interconnections on society and eco systems at macro level and changes its strategy to optimize the outcomes for larger human and ecological wellbeing.

Professor Wayne Visser, the Founder of CSR 2.0 and of CSR International, emphasize upon the fact that modern world businesses cannot survive without thinking in terms of “sustainability” and corporate responsibility. “The Age of Responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the New DNA of Business” is his book which defines Transformative Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility in a more technical manner.

Transformative CSR or technically “CSR 2.0” is made up of five major iterations or principles which are Creativity (C), Scalability (S), Responsiveness (R), Glocality (2), Circularity (0)

Source: CSR 2.0: Transforming Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, Wayne Visser, 2013

Creativity refers to Creative Solutions which are now needed for the complex and intractable modern social and environmental problems.

Scalability addresses the lack of scale in the existing proper sustainability and responsibility projects.

Responsiveness refers to the response required at every level, which questions whether particular industries, or the business model itself, are part of the solution or part of the problem. Self evaluation of your company’s overall business process should create this awareness.

Glocality expects companies to become far more sophisticated in combining international norms with local contexts by findind local solutions that are culturally appropriate, without forsaking universal principles.

Circularity demands the need of a cradle-to-cradle approach to close the loop in our production and designing products and processes, where we currently act as there are no limits on resource consumption and waste disposal.

Within CSR 2.0, Dr. Wayne Visser identifies four DNA Responsibility Bases such as Value Creation, Environmental Integrity, Good Governance and Societal Contribution.

Source: CSR 2.0: Transforming Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, Wayne Visser, 2013

CSR Sri Lanka uses Dr. Wayne Visser’s CSR 2.0 Self-Assessment Diagnostic Tool to assess the current status of CSR. CSR Sri Lanka holds the exclusive rights to use the tool in Sri Lanka.

The tool will assess on;

  1. The status of five stages of CSR (defensive, charitable, promotional, strategic and transformative)
  2. The Five principles of CSR 2.0 (creativity, scalability, responsiveness, glocality, circularity)
  3. The four DNA elements of CSR 2.0 (value creation, good governance, social contribution and environmental integrity.

CSR Sri Lanka is already licensed under “CSR 2.0 Assessors and Advisors”.

The importance of CSR has been identified as a long-term business strategy which delivers good business practice in return, that is bringing transformation to all stakeholders alike. CSR is the way of the future.