Four Keys to Getting More CSR Budget
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former US Senator, once famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” And the facts are, every year the market demands more not less social and environmental responsibility from companies.
Believe or don’t, that’s up to you: but know this, if you choose to ally yourself with Milton Friedman’s 1972 proclamation that a company’s sole responsibility is to make money for its shareholders you are living in the past and not in the company of serious executives who, unlike Mr. Friedman, must work and make money in a highly interconnected global economy world that is running out of resources and growing a larger population every day. Some of those executives who choose sustainability you may have heard of …. Mike Duke President and CEO of Wal-Mart, Mark Parkerthe CEO of Nike, Michael Dell CEO of Dell, Jeff Immelt CEO of GE.
But if your company doesn’t have a Michael Dell or Mike Duke, how can you get the budget to make CSR opportunities and avoid sustainability risks? It’s as hard and simple as convincing your corporate brethren that CSR is a way to build sales and corporate value. How do you do it? Here are four things to consider.
- Play with the Players
As a consulting firm my company has to sell to decision makers. As a CSR manager you need to do so as well. Unless you report directly to the CEO, you need to spend at least 30 percent of your time on internal networking. The objective: earn a place at the big table where strategy and budget plans get laid.
CSR managers need to be at the table and CSR needs decision makers on their team. A “gold mine” of support can be leveraged from understanding the needs and interests of senior executives (both business and personal). Effective networking needs to be authentic and for mutual benefit. A great resource for great networking is Keith Ferrazzi’s relationship building book Never Eat Alone.
- Don’t Have an Inferiority Superiority Complex
CSR professionals are often plagued by an inferiority-superiority complex. As a Canadian this is something I know all too well! It’s a condition where you feel both better than others but inferior at the same time. CSR professionals often feel this way because they are told over and over that what they do is marginal to business, extra, fuzzy and all that. But in our hearts we know that CSR is vital to the future health of our company and others just don’t get it.
This sentiment is humbug. The 21st century is the century of sustainability. Remember the turn of the last century? Railroads and highways defined development; in this young century it will be sustainability. Why do you think the long-term-thinking Chinese invest 10 times more in solar energy than anyone else? Why do you think Europeans lead in recycling? Why do you think the fastest growing sectors (albeit still quite small) are sustainably harvested foods and fairly traded goods?
Rather than feeling superior, we should feel a bit desperate, for if we (CSR managers) don’t move swiftly and in a significant way to have CSR integrated into core business operations quickly, it will be too late and an enormous (and virtually free) competitive advantage will be lost. There is no need to mix psychology into the debate: our job is to speak truth to power, modestly and armed with the facts (see point 4 below).
- Use the Tools others Use
If your company uses a balanced score card, total quality, ISO or Six Sigma, use them for CSR too; but don’t just use them – become masters at them. Just as it was in the school yard, in order to play with the big boys and girls you need to play their game – only better. Don’t want to be the last one picked to play, learn their game. (See point 1 above!)
- Prove CSR’s Value at all Cost; or it others will think CSR is just a Cost
Speaking truth to power and playing with the Players requires, above all, poof of concept. Is CSR really something that generates earnings and increases company value? If the first sentence of every one of your memos doesn’t start with a “$” your case is almost assuredly lost.
New methods in CSR brand value contribution can help you establish how much CSR contributes to your company, and, more importantly, can help estimate in quantitative terms how to leverage CSR brand value even more. If you have done your work in parts 1-3, telling the Players a $1 million CSR investment will return $10 million in sales and corporate value will certainly catch their attention.
There is a famous saying in politics that applies equally to business: that the best way to judge what’s really at stake in a decision making process is to follow the money. Want more budget? Follow the money: know your boss’ needs, use her language, use her tools, and ask her modestly, but with the force of reason for what you need. Oh yes, be sure to start each and everyone of your memos with how much CSR is worth to your company now and how much more it will be worth after you make your planned investments.
Para más información sobre cómo calcular el Valor RSE de la Marca:
ES Global Consulting
Marc de Sousa-Shields
Marc encabeza el área de Responsabilidad Social Corporativa de ES Global. Sus responsabilidades principales se centran en la asesoría de estrategia de RSE a nivel corporativo, las evaluaciones de inversión en RSE, y las mejores prácticas de capacitación en RSE para empresas en los países en desarrollo. También ha trabajado extensamente en el campo del desarrollo económico local especializándose en la pequeña y microempresa, incluyendo micro-finanzas en las zonas rurales y urbanas de los países en desarrollo.
Algunos de los clientes de Marc en consultoría y capacitación incluyen el Banco Mundial, la Corporación Financiera Internacional, BAC Credomatic, Statoil, la Fundación Ford, Grupo Modelo, Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, y varias prestigiosas instituciones de investigación y universidades. Para obtener más información, visita www.esglobal.com