Degrees of Integration: The framework in detail

See below for a detailed explanation of each element of the degrees of integration framework.

Degrees of integration diagram

The characteristics of a successful approach to a responsible business strategy

Visionary: Specific vision linked to contributing to a sustainable future; addressing business risks, global megatrends, stakeholder expectations, competitiveness and innovation in an integrated way.

Integrated: Responsible business objectives integrated into the core business strategy with robust objectives and targets for the medium and long term.

Challenging: Willing to challenge accepted norms and create new paradigms.  Clearly thinking and operating beyond the belief that firms must sacrifice financial performance to meet social and environmental expectations.

Material: Material issues are identified through good stakeholder engagement and shape core business strategy, products and services. 


The mechanisms required to support a responsible business strategy

Leadership: The level of understanding, engagement, accountability, and visibility senior leaders within a business choose to take and demonstrate on the responsible business agenda and the extent to which an organisation looks to develop thinking and understanding amongst future leaders.

Values: How employers encourage and enable employees to live the values.

Stakeholder engagement: The proactivity and effectiveness of a company’s communication with the various individuals, groups and organisations affected by the company’s operations and the value put on engaging with these stakeholders as a means of learning and influence.

Employee engagement: The extent to which an employer lifts up responsible business internally, encourages understanding among all employees of how the organisation’s approach relates to their role and encourages feedback/input to improve responsibility.

Collaboration: Working in collaboration with others to challenge sector norms and take ideas to scale.

Innovation: Investing in innovation for positive social and environmental outcomes.

Governance: The composition of the board (or equivalent) and how it is organised and developed to manage, integrate and drive responsible business through the organisation.

Metrics: The extent to which targets/metrics are appropriate for responsible business and how the company measures against them.


The elements needed to monitor and communicate a responsible business strategy

Impact measurement: How the company measures against targets and how these measures demonstrate to stakeholders the impact achieved.

Benchmarking: The extent to which a company uses benchmarking to understand how it is performing relative to others and to drive improvements.

Reporting: How a company values and manages the public reporting of responsible business, how it is integrated with its financial reporting, the extent to which the company is transparent about its positive and negative impacts and clear about its focus areas and performance.

Brand & External communications: A company’s approach to communicating its approach and commitment to responsible business in conjunction with the corporate brand.