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Case Studies

 

CLIENT:  Global Foundries 

BACKGROUND:  Our client, a new tech company that was spun off from a well known corporation, needed to establish its independent presence in the marketplace, communicate effectively about its legacy of strong environmental and socially responsible performance and inform vendors, customers and other stakeholders of its plans for the future.

APPROACH:  Strategy and content sessions were held with the client to determine goals, themes and potential issues.  The company had many employees who formerly worked for the predecessor, which provided both a resource of information and insights into how to help establish a new identity for sustainability practices.  The decision was made to create a multi-panel/page print piece that could be used with customers, investors and community members (e.g. distributed at meetings, available at the company’s facilities and headquarters), and could also be a feature and download on the company’s website.

Working closely with the client’s brand ambassadors and corporate responsibility personnel, the CSRG team created a variety of looks and color palettes for consideration, while drafting preliminary text and selecting images for piece.  Thematically, the storylines highlighted, people, place and process, utilizing bold graphics to help convey the company’s cutting edge technologies and organizational values.

RESULTS:  The final product met all of the client’s goals and exceeded expectations.  Reactions from stakeholders have been enthusiastic.  It is prominently featured on the website as a succinct overview of the company’s corporate responsibility practices, viewable or downloadable, 24/7.  Perhaps most important, it provides a foundation for future CR reporting with updated metrics and data based on the new operations.

 


 

CLIENT: Burt's Bee's

BACKGROUND: The CSR Group lead the development of a 3-5 year Sustainability Master Plan for Burt’s Bees (owned by Clorox).  CSRG accomplished with our Sustainability Strategy Development  Tools and Process. 

APPROACH:

Step One: Sustainability Self Assessment

Step Two: Developed a stakeholder Engagement Plan from CSRG’s Stakeholder Mapping Tool;

Step Three: External benchmarking to compare and learn from best practice

Step Four:  Development of a 3-5 year Sustainability Master Plan from the results of the development process. 

The Self assessment looked at: 

  • Provided a multi-dimensional view of the clients performance relative to social, environmental, and stakeholder indicators;
  • Identified key areas of strength as viewed through the CSR lens;
  • Illuminated potential weaknesses relative to CSR;
  • Identifyed opportunities for improvement in the realm of CSR development;
  • Galvanized internal stakeholders to develop an assessment that provides a platform for a meaningful and practical dialogue about CSR/Sustainability. 

After completing the Self-Assessment Tool, CSRG used the stakeholder mapping tool to develop a better understanding of Burt’s Bees’ stakeholder relationships as well as a competitive analysis/benchmarking to focus on the Burt’s Bees’ area of choice – from overall sustainability practices and reporting to environmental policies to stakeholder engagement.

Concurrent with the Self-Assessment, Stakeholder Mapping, and Benchmarking, CSRG met with key members of Burt’s Bees’ sustainability team and additional people at all levels of the organization to conduct IDI’s (In-depth interviews) to gain insight about where sustainability was within the company, extrapolate key issues, and gather an understanding of sustainability broadly within the organization. 

RESULTS: Using information and insight from these meetings, together with the results of the sustainability strategy tools, CSRG drafted a master sustainability strategic plan for the company.  This plan was defined and focused on the next 3-5 years.      

Including conferences held between Burt’s Bees and CSRG personnel and time to conduct assessments and footprints, the project took 6 months.

 


 

  

CLIENT: Altria 

BACKGROUND: The CSR Group lead the development of a Sustainability Master Plan for Altria which also included a DJSI assessment. CSRG accomplished this with our Sustainability Strategy Development  Tools and Process.

APPROACH:

Step One: Sustaiability Self Assessment

Step Two: Developed a Stakeholder Engagement Plan from CSRG’s Stakeholder Mapping Tool;

Step Three: External benchmarking to compare and learn from best practice

Step Four:  Development of a Sustainability Master Plan from the results of the strategic process. 

 

The Self assessment looked at:

·       Sustainability Evolution (Overall Sustainability Management)

·       Ethics and governance

·       Social (internal and external)

·       Environmental (waste, water, energy)

·       Stakeholder engagement

 RESULTS:

  • Provided a multi-dimensional view of the clients performance relative to social, environmental, and stakeholder indicators;
  • Identified key areas of strength as viewed through the CSR lens;
  • Illuminated potential weaknesses relative to CSR;
  • Identifyed opportunities for improvement in the realm of CSR development;
  • Galvanized internal stakeholders to develop an assessment that provides a platform for a meaningful and practical dialogue about CSR/Sustainability.

After completing the Self-Assessment, CSRG used the stakeholder mapping tool to develop a better understanding of Altria stakeholder relationships as well as a competitive analysis/benchmarking to focus on the Altria area of choice – from overall sustainability practices and reporting to environmental policies to stakeholder engagement.

Along with the self assessment, CSRG worked together with Altria to design a benchmarking study built around their goals.  With this benchmarking, Altria was compared to profiled companies who were industry leaders, peers or best-in-practice. 

The project manager at CSRG guided Altria through the use of the tools and how to best distribute it throughout the company to achieve maximum results.  After the sustainability assessment, benchmarking and stakeholder mapping have been completed, CSRG completed an analysis of the accumulatd information and data to highlight the strenghts, weaknesses, opportunities and threates (SWOT) disclosed.  From this SWOT analysis, CSRG recommendd the next steps and framed the master sustainability strategic plan.

Concurrent with the Self-Assessment, Stakeholder Mapping, and Benchmarking, CSRG met with key members of Altria sustainability team and additional people at all levels of the organization to conduct IDI’s (In-depth interviews) to gain insight about where sustainability was within the company, extrapolate key issues, and gather an understanding of sustainability broadly withint he organization.  Using information and insight from these meetings, together with the results of the sustainability strategy tools, CSRG drafted a master sustainability strategic plan for the company.  This plan was defined and focused on the next 3-5 years.     

Including conferences held between Altria and CSRG personnel and time to conduct assessments and footprints, the project took 1 year.


CLIENT: Cooper

BACKGROUND: Today, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the notions of “corporate responsibility” and “sustainability” are familiar to most business people and yet the essential understanding of what these ideas entail and how they are best implemented in a company’s operations remain elusive.  The terminology, complexity, lack of a clear mandate (e.g., no requirement (yet) for triple bottom line accounting in the GAAP standards) and a long period of economically challenging market conditions has resulted in inertia for many companies.  Still, most company leaders…and employees…know that every company should be doing something about sustainability and “enterprise responsibility” (a term we use to clarify that responsibility applies to all business entities, regardless of their form of legal organization).  The question, then, is how and where to begin?

APPROACH: At CSRG we are deeply committed to an integrated approach to sustainable business practices.  This means that everyone in the organization is actively aware of the company’s efforts and initiatives and how their individual work contributes to the enterprise’s results.  The goal is to inspire every employee to understand and accept what “responsibility” and sustainability” means so that they can act and think independently and in a manner consistent with the company’s goals and values.[1]  By exploring and achieving organizational consensus on why the company is in business (as evidenced by its values, mission statement, etc.), our client gained the ability to prioritize tasks and resolve questions as to how to implement sustainable business practices. This is where we want to be but not really how it played out at cooper -   ASSESSMENT   Our client, a publicly traded industrial conglomerate with diverse domestic and international operations, had received a shareholder resolution asking the company to issue a “corporate social responsibility report.”  Such shareholder resolutions are becoming more frequent and, as here, are often brought against companies that don’t have a clear articulation of their sustainable and responsible business practices.  CSRG, as a strategic advisor to the company, guided the client by (1) using its long-term relationships within the SRI (socially responsible investment) community to broker the dialogue and provide assurance to the filing SRI firm that we were working with the company. This resulted in an immediate lessening of adversarial posturing and improved communication and withdrawal of the resolution.  CSRG provided the CSRG proprietary CSR Self Assessment Tool (tm), which guided the company’s internal assessment and provided the foundation needed for reporting.   The Self Assessment Tool (“SAT”) allows a client to accurately determine its relative strengths and weaknesses in five key areas: CSR Evolution (i.e. how much the company knows and does about socially responsible practices); Environment; Ethics & Governance; Stakeholder Engagement and Society.  The tool is a series of easy-to-understand questions that can be answered “yes,” “no,” “work in progress” or “not applicable” presented in an Excel spreadsheet format.[2]  Employees throughout the organization provide answers to the assessment questions. The data is provided to CSRG for collation and analysis.    The deployment strategy for the SAT varies from client to client and is dependent on a number of factors including the client’s needs (short and long term), budget, operations and structure, etc.  In the present example, the client and CSRG determined that it was best to use divisional vice presidents as the primary “in the field” contacts.  Each of the VPs was free to select as many employees under his/her supervision as needed to provide sufficient detail for the assessment.  Two primary contacts, the Chief Environmental Officer and the Director of Investor Relations, were responsible for leading the project.   CSRG reviewed the client’s data, performed a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and prepared a preliminary strategy for creating a CSR report based on the data gathered during the assessment.  One of the many features of the SAT is that it maps to the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) G3 metrics.  This allows CSRG to show our client the metrics that have sufficient data for reporting and where to focus efforts to gather data or implement systems so that relevant data can be measured and reported in the future. 

RESULTS: During consultation between CSRG and the client’s project leadership team, issues such as the existence of historical data (three years’ worth is needed per GRI guidelines), possible themes for the report and relevant and valuable stories/personnel to give life to the data were discussed and resolved.   The Self Assessment data disclosed that there were 10 GRI metrics the client could report on, and that in a couple of cases, there were not three years’ worth of data to report.  This result is not unusual, as the data gathering systems are often not in place within an organization until the company explicitly commits to measuring relevant metrics data and establishes the systems (human and data) to track operational results. The creation of a GRI based report was a major accomplishment that has served the company in many ways (in addition to addressing the shareholder resolution) from reputation and risk management to clearer communication. The process became the impetus for longer-term goals and initiatives that both improved operations, contributed to profitability and allowed for more expansive reporting in the future.   RESULTS   The results of CSRG’s work with the client were profound.  The shareholder resolution was withdrawn prior to the shareholder’s meeting, as a direct result of CSRG’s involvement, reputation and relationships that provided the stakeholder groups with confidence that the company was actively working and committed to reporting and the operational changes that go with it.  Internally, the company’s workforce around the world was energized and united by the self-assessment process and the report.  While the company already had employee awards programs and a company newsletter in place prior to deploying the SAT,[3] the act of soliciting employee opinions around sustainability and corporate responsibility issues globally had the effect of “breaking down silos’—getting people to talk across business units and functional areas of work and expertise to share ideas and implement things that had worked in other parts/regions of the company.  The publication of the report, which serendipitously coincided with an important anniversary in the company’s history, became an important tool in the company’s investor presentations (with particular success at attracting international institutional investors) and for use in discussions and activities throughout the company’s customer base and supply chain.  Building upon the results of the Self Assessment and CSR report writing process, the company undertook initiatives to improve customer feedback and idea gathering systems (and capture the data).   

CONCLUSION: The only way to effectively and successfully start the work of instituting or increasing sustainability and corporate responsibility measures is to have an accurate picture of where the organization is at the outset.  The CSRG Self Assessment Tool and related consulting services and analysis provide that foundation.  The process provides the foundation for the development of a long-term sustainability strategy that is holistic and integrative. It guides the company along the journey of sustainability integration and long term reporting. It can engage a number of employees throughout the organization and become a catalyst components of the integrated plan which can include, for example, long term and integrated reporting, carbon footprinting and/or GHG analyses, supply chain work, etc.  These are all services the CSRG provide to the client throughout our long-term advisory engagements. The process and the results yield long-term benefits and opportunities for change and growth that benefit the bottom line.  



[1]This approach has the added benefit of carrying over this type of thinking and behavior into employee’s personal and social lives.  This is an example of how company action can have collateral societal benefits.
[2]  A web-based version is currently in development.
[3] Awards were given for safety, environmental activities like recycling and systems improvements and community outreach.