You can increase your company’s bottom line by engaging in corporate social responsibility efforts, Margie Flynn, principal and co-owner of consulting firm BrownFlynn, said at CONEXPO. To do this, imagine a Venn diagram with three circles: people, planet and prosperity. Then, focus your efforts on where these elements intersect, Flynn said.
For instance, sometimes, decisions are made in a vacuum without thinking of all the related aspects, she says. Take the people who design plastic water bottles. If that’s all they do, they might come up with a great bottle, but if they don’t talk with manufacturers about the best source of materials, additional costs can build up. If they don’t consider disposal methods, how the bottles are transported or where the water comes from, additional issues can arise.
Why should you care about environmental costs or human labor practices or relationships with the community? It comes down to your brand and reputation, and how people put a value on that, Flynn said.
Once you’ve decided to pursue sustainability and CSR, how do you go about it? Flynn outlined what she considers as essential steps:
- Have the top brass be champions of the plan.
- Get employees to understand and buy-in to your vision.
- Integrate sustainability throughout your company’s operations rather than silo it.
- Place corporate sustainability at the core of your strategic plan.
- Set short- and long-term goals, measure them and communicate the results — both the good and the bad.
- Celebrate and publicize success.