January 22, 2020
Over the last couple of years, CSR has been having a ‘moment’ in Australia, definitely moving from a nice paragraph in the Annual Report to an active part of Board discussions, particularly around human rights and diversity issues.
It is exciting to see blue-chip and listed organisations stand up for political and human rights issues that are not directly aligned to their product or service and most importantly are willing to accept criticism and the risk of shareholder or influencer disagreement to lend their weight and power to issues they deem important.
This can be seen in examples such as the highly visible and active involvement of the national airline Qantas and online marketplace AirBnB in the marriage equality debate and the development of the ‘Male Champions of Change’ a group of 30 CEOs, Board Directors, Government Department, University and Military leaders working together to achieving a sustainable level of increase of female leaders in Australia, setting themselves accountable, published KPIs.
Where previously Australian companies prioritised reputation, brand and charitable initiatives as the main CSR focus, organisations are now investing significant time, innovation and resources into stakeholder engagement and community investment with internal communications, policy, strategy and reporting also receiving attention as a key part of the process.
As employees and customers increasingly factor a company’s values into their engagement decisions, taking CSR from the boardroom and into the streets can only enhance their reputation beneficially as long as the intention is authentic and genuine and driven by a decision to influence positive social change and not for commercial gain.
About Louise Nealon
Award-winning Communications Director, Louise Nealon, helps purpose-led organisations and minority groups that support humanity, to be visible and heard – in order to create positive change in the world.