CSR in transition:
from a locust to a honeybee attitude
Dr. Pierluigi Orati - Journalist, CSR Consultant
Borrow – Use - ReturnTake – Make - Waste
An old Business model vs a Sustainable one
Would you like to be the change or to see the change?
Dry – Inhospitable - Empty Green – Liveable - Rich
The consequences of a shortsighted system
Sustainability: not just surface
Since companies discovered sustainability as a mere communication/marketing tool,
CSR became the packaging of a dangerous product: an overestimated weight given
to the reputation. But the packaging in the end of its economic cycle produces
damages and it is a problem to tackle in the “developed” world.
Sustainable Communication used as a “hooker”
Communication should be used to give / deliver real and useful information to the
stakeholders / society and not merely as a tool to gain consensus (a “PR exercise”).
A change of identity (logo) and an appealing website, a “well pictured” Sustainability
Report or “Sustainable” initiatives for the friendly press are probably just successfull
From Greenwashing to Greedwashing
Greed in the last quarter of century, became more virulent than before, growing
spectacularly. Rather than marketing exercises such as greenwashing, Corporations,
starting from their Board of Directors till their CSR officers, should put in act some
greedwashing with the purpose to not just maximize their profit in a very blind
perspective but creating value through real sustainable practices that, on the long
run, could guarantee the Companies’ virtuous performances.
Some positive approaches …
The Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation
European Commission has allocated a first 5 million Euros
from the fast start climate action grant financing to support a
three year start up phase of the programme. This is in addition to a larger
contributions to renewable energy investments provided under the Infrastructure
Trust Fund and the Energy Facility aiming to contribute to African renewable
energy targets for 2020
The key areas of the programme aim at:
• Strengthening the renewable energy industry and markets in Africa.
• Implementing renewable energy policies and measures. Focus will be on a set
of measures aiming at creating stable and 'renewable friendly' administrative and
• Mobilising existing and new financial instruments to support renewable energy
• Renewable energy research, education and technology transfer.
• Address clients' fuel shortages affecting local health, nutrition and education.
• Budget savings for institutional cooking fuels and disaster relief situations.
• In some regions distribution of biomass and fossil fuels are subsidized by aid agencies.
Broad use of solar cookers can decrease these costs so that more people can benefit
from these humanitarian funds.
• Solar cooking addresses all of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Solar Cooking projects
Two billion people rely on wood and charcoal for cooking fuel. Solar cooking alleviates
the conflict between their basic needs and the need to preserve earth's dwindling forests.
Some practical proposals for seriously
committed Corporations …
I have set some easy and affordable proposals towards those entrepreneurs / top
managers, corporations, seriously committed to change the current state of art
• Let’s get rid of this equal opportunity policy based merely on the “gender affiliation”. One
manager is not good or bad just because of his/her gender! Let’s reappraise the
“meritocracy”, companies should give the responsibilities and the manager positions only to
those that really deserve them, beside the gender and of course not creating unbalanced
situations where “minorities” are not represented at all.
• “MBO” (Management by Objective) directly linked to Sustainable performances of the
company, spread all over the units of the organizations. Let’s not be too philosophical and
romantic, money will motivate managers to achieve better results.
• A more serious monitoring of Key Performance Indicators related to CSR and an external
audit contract for no longer than one year, not renewable. The external auditors, well paid
from companies, otherwise will tend to be too “friendly” and “flexible”.
• Teleworking: this can be a policy that encounter some initial resistance in the Latin
mentality as per my experience: a boss wants to check (physically) his/her employee, thinking
to obtain better performances through direct control. Nothing is so untrue! To make people
responsible, this is the real challenge, the control can be easily obtained setting deadlines for
each task assigned. We are not teacher in the primary school and if we treat our people like
that, we will obtain just primary school results.
“Hot tips”, not just environmentally oriented
Are all these kind of initiatives enough?
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not
every man's greed”.
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