Sustainability Beyond What We Have To Do

December 9, 2010

CSR-Practitioners align financial and non-financial values & drivers within organizations

This past week the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence hosted a Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Workshop and its 5th Sustainability Roundtable on Green Marketing and Materiality in New York City. Eighteen senior professionals from oil, building, consultancy, communications, chemical, urban planning, travel, academic, and non-profit organizations responsible for Sustainability and CSR activities came together to for 2 days of intensive training aimed towards aligning the financial and non-financial performance of their organizations.

The workshop covered the key performance dimensions of Sustainability – Economy, Society, Environment, Workplace – and the Roundtable discussed Green Marketing and Materiality in light of the FTC’s green marketing guidelines. Among trainers, Nick Andrews and Nikos Avlonas, were speakers Jordan Kimmel of Trust Across America, Susan McPherson of Fenton Communications, Nancy Bsales of Terra Pass Inc., and roundtable panelists Aman Singh of and Joseph Aamidor of Enablon Solutions.

Learning highlights of the workshop and the roundtable concluded that in the US, the concepts of Sustainability and CSR in organizations focuses more on financial performance and energy efficiency highly driven by regulation and strict economic targets. Rarely do we see organizations represent Sustainable Business Models that go beyond what they Have to do (reflecting regulatory and economic targets) towards what they Want to do (reflecting social and workplace targets).

Key performance dimensions of Sustainability are highly complex and important, as they have a direct impact on current and future economic conditions. Different corporate divisions are now networks challenged by aligning economic priorities against social, environmental and workplace targets to achieve Sustainable business models and practices.

In a few words, Nikos Avlonas and Nick Andrews of CSE emphasized,
“the currently global financial and non-financial value crisis in the US can be remedied by integrating the four dimensions of sustainability into strategic and operational priorities to reflect an ‘Ethical Capitalism Model’ going beyond popular assumptions of Sustainability and CSR”.

Leading this value alignment within organizations requires understanding complex issues and communicating them effectively and, above all, involvement within the core business across divisions. Positioning an organization effectively in the sustainable business community cannot be solely seen as a priority among managers working passionately in isolation without integration of best practice across business divisions.

Jordan Kimmel of Trust Across America commented from his experiences,
“My whole career was based upon creating some financial products where we measured different things that we considered as ‘non-blendable’– value, growth, momentum, investments. When we started including transparency, corporate integrity… and talking with professionals, we saw  passionate experts working in silos 25 to 30 years but never really blending drivers of best practice –  companies getting past what they have to do to what they want to do for their employees, customers, suppliers …..”

There are countless professionals in communications, supply chain, human resources, environmental management,  business development, etc., who are faced with the challenge of integrating social, economic, and environmental sustainability within strategic and operational frameworks of organizations. The Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Workshop enables professionals to learn how to lead the alignment of financial and non-financial values and drivers within organizations.

As an approved training provider under the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), CSE has Certified 150 CSR Practitioners, who are currently making a substantial difference in 5 continents and over 21 countries driving best practice.

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