What insights can we gain from companies' discussions around the CR Index?

Maël Lagadec, Benchmarking Manager, Business in the Community and Jessica Wettstein, Consultant, Business in the Community take a look at some of the insights from the 2015 CR Index cycle.

As we invite entries for the 2016 CR Index, we’d like to look back on the company perspectives we gained over a series of CR Index Insights events which ran over the summer. 

Bringing together both CR Index participants and non-participants, these were an opportunity for discussion on topics and trends identified through our research and analysis of the 2015 CR Index data.  PwC kindly hosted the events, the insights from which included the following:

A flag to wave and build pride amongst employees, a reference 'bible' of all CR activities, and a torch to shine a light on areas where business can do more.

- Bridget Jackson,
Director of Sustainability at PwC, on the CR Index
Global Megatrends:

The challenge of balancing long term risks with short term business priorities, and the need to translate megatrends into short term decision making for different parts of the business is increasingly important for businesses.  In fact, no less than know that 81% of CR Index participants have carried out formal risk and opportunity process on this topic.

Leadership and future leaders:

Many participants noted that engaging future leaders in sustainability is a lot easier than engaging current leaders.  They also stressed the importance of experiential learning in engaging leaders.

That’s reflected in what they’re doing: 75% of participants have integrated CR in their employee development strategy and cascaded it down to individuals’ development plans.

Accountability was also identified as a major challenge – whilst individual department heads might have targets to which they are accountable for, most participants shared their difficulties in linking their leaders’ sustainability performance to remuneration.  

Stakeholder and SME engagement as innovation drivers.

Four out of five participants now convene stakeholder forums, and collaborate with and empower their stakeholders. At the events, companies described how improving the customer experience can be one big driver for innovation. Businesses also spoke about involving SMEs in the supply chain as a catalyst for innovation, as these organisations are more agile, employing a young and bright workforce who can introduce new ways of thinking.  

Employee engagement:

Companies working to engage with sustainability issues often see a need to bring their employees along with them.

Some participants already involved in doing this gave their tips on how increased knowledge of and awareness of sustainability can be delivered through training and communication, including: ensuring that communication was fun and ‘human’ through using stories to share messages, using job-relevant reasoning to help achieve behavioiur change, and integrating training both in learning and development and in appraisal processes.

Read more insights from the 2015 CR Index, or enter the 2016 Public CR Index now.