The DNA Model of CSR 2.0

The DNA Model of CSR 2.0:

Value Creation, Good Governance, Societal Contribution and Ecological Integrity

Article by Wayne Visser

I believe that CSR 2.0 – or Transformative CSR (I also sometimes call it Systemic CSR, Radical CSR or Holistic CSR, so use whichever you prefer) – represents a new holistic model of CSR. The essence of the CSR 2.0 DNA model are the four DNA Responsibility Bases, which are like the four nitrogenous bases of biological DNA (adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine), sometimes abbreviated to the four-letters GCTA (which was the inspiration for the 1997 science fiction film GATTACA). In the case of CSR 2.0, the DNA Responsibility Bases:

  • Value creation;
  • Good governance;
  • Societal contribution; and
  • Environmental integrity

Hence, if we look at Value Creation

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_dna_model_csr_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] The DNA Model of CSR 2.0 (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-age-of-responsibility”]Page[/button] The Age of Responsibility (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2011) The DNA Model of CSR 2.0: Value Creation, Good Governance, Societal Contribution and Ecological Integrity, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 9.

Share this page

Share

The Ages and Stages of CSR

The Ages and Stages of CSR:

From Defensive to Transformative Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility

Article by Wayne Visser

I have found it useful to view the evolution of business responsibility in terms of five overlapping economic periods:

  1. The Age of Greed;
  2. The Age of Philanthropy;
  3. The Age of Marketing;
  4. The Age of Management; and
  5. The Age of Responsibility

Each of which typically manifests a different stage of CSR, namely:

  1. Defensive CSR;
  2. Charitable CSR;
  3. Promotional CSR;
  4. Strategic CSR; and
  5. Transformative CSR.

My contention is that companies tend to move through these ages and stages (although they may have activities in several ages and stages at once), and that we should be encouraging business to make the transition to Transformative CSR in the dawning Age of Responsibility. If companies remain stuck in any of the first four stages, I don’t believe we will turn the tide on the environmental, social and ethical crises that we face. Simply put, CSR will continue to fail  …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_ages_stages_csr_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] The Ages & Stages of CSR (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-age-of-responsibility”]Page[/button] The Age of Responsibility (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2010) The Ages and Stages of CSR: From Defensive to Systemic Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 8.

Share this page

Share

The Rise and Fall of CSR

The Rise and Fall of CSR:

Three Curses of CSR 1.0 and Five Principles of CSR 2.0

Article by Wayne Visser

Despite its seemingly impressive steady march of progress in the past decades, CSR has failed. Furthermore, we are witnessing the demise of CSR, which will continue until its natural death, unless it is reborn and rejuvenated.

CSR has undoubtedly had many positive impacts, for communities and the environment. Yet, its success or failure should be judged in the context of the total impacts of business on society and the planet. Viewed this way, on virtually every measure of social, ecological and ethical performance we have available, the negative impacts of business have been an unmitigated disaster, which CSR has completely failed to avert or even substantially moderate.

Why has CSR failed so spectacularly to address the very issues it claims to be most concerned about? This comes down to three factors – the Triple Curse of Modern CSR, if you like:

  1. Incremental CSR
  2. Peripheral CSR
  3. Uneconomic CSR

To get beyond these curses, we need a revolution that will, if successful, change the way we talk about and practice CSR and, ultimately, the way we do business. I call this new approach, CSR 2.0, where CSR stands for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility. There are five principles that make up the DNA of CSR 2.0:

  1. Creativity
  2. Scalability
  3. Responsiveness
  4. Glocality
  5. Circularity

Making a positive contribution to society is the essence of CSR 2.0  …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_rise_fall_csr_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] The Rise and Fall of CSR (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-age-of-responsibility”]Page[/button] The Age of Responsibility (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2010) The Rise and Fall of CSR: The Three Curses of CSR 1.0 and the Five Principles of CSR 2.0, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 7.

Share this page

Share

The Future of CSR Codes

The Future of CSR Codes and Standards

Article by Wayne Visser

In this piece, I look at the lessons we have learned so far (both positive and negative) and what part CSR codes and standards play in an emerging New Governance model. Let me start with what I think we’ve learned about CSR codes and standards over the past 30 years or so.

  • Codes can be a useful activist tool
  • Codes can help to generate consensus
  • Codes can embed incremental improvement
  • Codes can change industry sectors

There are also downsides to CSR codes and standards, which we have come to realise.

  • Codes create auditing and reporting fatigue
  • Codes create confusion in the market
  • Codes can be a mask for irresponsibility
  • Codes are no substitute for regulation

With the usual caveats that the future is unpredictable, it does seem to me that there are several trends in CSR codes and standardsthat indicate the direction of their evolution.

  • Principle-based codes will consolidate
  • Process-based codes will struggle
  • Performance-based codes will strengthen
  • Sector-, product-, issue- and geography-based codes will expand

My fundamental belief is that CSR codes and standards will not disappear, because they form part of an emerging new form of governance, based on a multi-stakeholder approach …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_csr_codes_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] The Future of CSR Codes (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-a-to-z-of-corporate-social-responsibility”]Page[/button] The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2009) The Future of CSR Codes and Standards, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 6.

Share this page

Share

The Long Tail of CSR

The Long Tail of CSR:

Achieving Scalability in Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

Article by Wayne Visser

I recently read The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson and it started me thinking: What is the Long Tail of CSR? The Long Tail – named after the extended tail of a statistical distribution curve – is the idea that selling less to more people is big business. It’s the business model that has spawned the most successful companies of the Web 2.0 age. The Long Tail questions the conventional wisdom that says success is about generating ‘blockbusters’ and ‘superstars’ – those rare few products and services that become runaway bestsellers.

Anderson sums up his message by saying that:

  1. the tail of available variety is longer than we think;
  2. it’s now within reach economically; and
  3. all those niches, when aggregated, can make up a significant market.

He also notes that this Long Tail revolution has been made possible by the digital age, which has dramatically reduced the costs of customised production and niche distribution.

There are three enablers of successful long tail businesses, according to Anderson:

  1. democratising the tools of production (e.g. digi-cams, content editing software, blogging tools);
  2. democratising the tools of distribution (e.g. Amazon, eBay, iTunes, Netflix); and
  3. connecting supply and demand (e.g. Google, blogs, Rotten Tomatoes).

So how might this apply to CSR? To me, the Long Tail of CSR is all about extending the reach of CSR, and improving its ability to satisfy specific social and environmental needs. Let’s use Anderson’s enablers as a framework for thinking about this …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_long_tail_csr_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] The Long Tail of CSR (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-age-of-responsibility”]Page[/button] The Age of Responsibility (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2008) The Long Tail of CSR: Achieving Scalability in Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 5.

Share this page

Share

CSR Myths

CSR Myths:

Popular Misconceptions on Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

Article by Wayne Visser

In an article published by Ethical Corporation, I set out to explode 7 myths about corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR). Most of these myths exist as a result of the feeding frenzy that inevitably occurs every time the media has hunted down and sunk its teeth into one or other juicy story of corporate exploitation. The myths are also sustained, however, by whole legions of largely well-intentioned people who have vested interests in promoting their particular brand of the truth about CSR. The 7 myths are:

  1. Economic growth is not compatible with CSR
  2. Multinationals are the biggest CSR sinners
  3. Multinationals are the biggest CSR saviours
  4. Developing countries are anti-multinational
  5. CSR is the same the world over
  6. Developed countries lead on CSR
  7. Codes can ensure CSR …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_csr_myths_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] CSR Myths (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/business-frontiers”]Page[/button] Business Frontiers (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2008) CSR Drivers: The Forces Shaping Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 3.

Share this page

Share

CSR Drivers

CSR Drivers:

The Forces Shaping Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

Article by Wayne Visser

In doing research for my chapter CSR in Developing Countries, published in The Oxford Handbook of CSR, I identified 10 drivers for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR), which I summarise below.

National (or internal) drivers refer to pressures from within the country and include:

  • Cultural tradition
  • Political reform
  • Socio-economic priorities
  • Governance gaps
  • Crisis response
  • Market access

International (or external) drivers tend to have a global origin and include:

  • International standardization
  • Investment incentives
  • Stakeholder activism
  • Supply chain …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/inspiration_csr_drivers_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] CSR Drivers (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-world-guide-to-csr”]Link[/button] The World Guide to CSR (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2008) CSR Drivers: The Forces Shaping Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 3.

Share this page

Share

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility:

An Agenda for the Future

Article by Wayne Visser

This article deals with the crucial debate that is beginning to emerge about corporate social responsibility (CSR), which acknowledges that the sophistication of stakeholder challenges and corporate responses has gone up a gear, but questions whether CSR itself is too little too late, or even a red herring.

Developing the Agenda

Geographically, there has been a recent emphasis on the challenges of corporate citizenship in the developing world, including issues of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the “Bottom of the Pyramid” concept about servicing lower income markets, and CSR in the Pacific Rim, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. We think this focus accurately portrays the current shift in CSR concerns towards the global South, where despite the scale and urgency of development needs, determining the best way for business to respond to poverty remains extremely complex.

Although the Asian tsunami disaster in December 2004 focused attention on humanitarian relief efforts, which many companies contributed to, it is also encouraging to see corporate leaders engaged in a wider discussion about how normal business influences the poor and disadvantaged around the world and what business models could be more supportive of development. However, our analysis is that current debates about the opportunities for corporate contributions to the MDGs often lack a full understanding of processes of “development”.

Much of the profitable business with lower-income markets involves products such as mobile phones, not the provision of basic nutrition, sanitation, education and shelter, so the current expansion of profitable business in the global South does not necessarily imply poverty reduction. In addition, the type of development that is promoted by marketing consumer products to the poor can be questioned, and claims about empowering people by providing means for them to consume cannot be taken at face value. The environmental impacts of changing consumption patterns also need to be looked at, without assuming that such problems will be solved just through technical and financial advancement. And we need to assess, if more foreign companies do come to serve lower income markets, might they not displace local companies and increase the resource drain from local economies?

Exploring Relationships

How large corporations might bring their financial, technical and management resources to help local entrepreneurs improve and scale their businesses, and avoid exploitative local middlemen, is important to explore and will become a significant part of the corporate responsibility agenda. However, exploitative North-South supply chains, tax avoidance, and anti-competitive practices are fairly typical of international corporations, undermining their economic contribution to development. These economic issues have been overlooked by mainstream work on corporate responsibility, and we suggest such economic issues will become more central in future.

From an institutional perspective, various relationships in the CSR debate have been critically examined, especially the status and acceptability of partnerships between business and NGOs on the one hand, and business and the UN on the other. This examination reflects a sharp rise in the demand for organisations to demonstrate their accountability and transparency, not only business, but NGOs and intergovernmental organisations as well. The ethics of institutional engagement is …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/article_lifeworth_review_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] Corporate Social Responsibility (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/business-frontiers”]Page[/button] Business Frontiers (book)

Cite this article

Adapted from: Visser, W. & Bendell, J. (2005) Introduction. Lifeworth Annual Review of Corporate Responsibility.

Share this page

Share

Corporate Citizenship

Corporate Citizenship:

Is South Africa World Class?

Article by Wayne Visser

At the 2003 World Economic Forum, a global CEO survey on corporate citizenship was launched, representing companies with headquarters in 16 countries (including South Africa) and covering 18 industries. The report of findings identified ten key messages for engaging successfully with the corporate citizenship agenda. In this article, I use these ten messages as a framework for questioning South Africa’s progress in the corporate citizenship field. I also subjectively score South Africa on each issue, based on their relative global performance.

The Power of Personal Leadership

The global CEO survey highlighted the important role of the chief executive as a champion of corporate values and a consensus builder on issues of corporate citizenship. Who are South Africa’s corporate citizenship executive champions? Who has taken it upon themselves to be an active campaigner for business’ contribution to society? South Africa certainly had such leaders in the past. For example, Pick ‘n Pay Chairman, Raymond Ackerman, was one of the 50 global executives that formed the Business Council for Sustainable Development and issued its report entitled Changing Course: A Global Business Perspective on Development and the Environment to the 1992 Earth Summit.

But who has taken over the mantle? There certainly seems to be several contenders from the Anglo American stable: Perhaps someone like Michael Spicer, former Executive Director: Corporate Affairs and Executive Vice President of Anglo American plc, and now Chief Executive of the South Africa Foundation? He has taken high profile positions on corporate citizenship issues and seems to embody a heartfelt commitment. Or the tireless efforts of Chairman of Anglo’s Chairman’s Fund, Clem Sunter, who has championed both the HIV/Aids and sustainable development causes? Or do we look to Anglo’s Chairman, Sir Mark Moody Stuart, who managed Shell’s difficult transition towards embracing sustainability?

Who are the others? South Africa needs business leaders who are vocal champions for corporate citizenship. I am not referring to CEOs who simply embrace the rhetoric in their annual reports, but to individuals who are personally committed to the cause of social upliftment and ecological protection – leaders who lead the corporate citizenship movement from the front, with passion. We all need something to believe in, and our corporate leaders are in the unique position of being able to create a vision of how we can make a difference in South Africa. Who will stand up and be counted?

My score for South Africa: 5/10

Strength in Collective Action

The global CEO survey stresses that although personal leadership matters, there is also strength in collective leadership, especially when it comes to addressing public policy issues, industry-wide concerns, national development challenges, or global issues that are beyond the remit or capacity of any one company, but vital to long term commercial success. What is South Africa’s track record of collective action? This seems to me to be one of the areas in which South Africa has excelled, and may be regarded as truly world class (Fourie & Eloff 2005) …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/article_citizenship_sa_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] Corporate Citizenship (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/corporate-citizenship-in-africa”]Page[/button] Corporate Citizenship in Africa (book)

Cite this article

Visser, W. (2005) Corporate Citizenship: Is South Africa World Class? The Corporate Citizen, Trialogue: Johannesburg.

Share this page

Share

Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid

Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid:

An African Perspective

Article by Wayne Visser

This article has two primary objectives: 1) To use Archie Carroll’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Pyramid to illustrate the nature of CSR in Africa; and 2) To use the context of Africa to demonstrate the limitations of Carroll’s CSR Pyramid as a framework for understanding CSR. Anglo American is used as a case study to illustrate the debate.

The African Context

The debate over Africa’s future has taken centre stage recently, with the publication of Our Common Interest, the report of the UK’s Commission for Africa. The report calls for improved governance and capacity building, the pursuit of peace and security, investment in people, economic growth and poverty reduction, and increased and fairer trade. It is not hard to see that business has a key role to play in this transformation process, with much of its contribution capable of being to be framed in terms of CSR.

Despite generally negative press, there has been significant progress on the continent over the past decade. Fifteen countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, have been growing on average more than 5% per year since the mid-1990s. And foreign direct investment (FDI) rose to $8.5 billion in 2004, up from $7.8 billion the previous year. At the same time, Africa’s new generation of leaders, through initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Union and the East African Community, are taking responsibility for development.

Nevertheless, Africa remains a marginal region in global terms: With 12% of the world’s population (around 750 million people) in 53 countries, Africa accounts for less than 2% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and FDI, and less than 10% of FDI to all developing countries. Of the 81 poorest countries prioritised by the International Development Association, almost half are in Africa. And even within Africa, there is highly skewed development, with the largest ten economies accounting for 75% of the continent’s GDP.

The extent of the challenge for CSR in Africa becomes even clearer when we are reminded of the scale of social needs that still exist, despite decades of aid and development effort: Life expectancy in Africa is still only 50 years on average (and as low as 38 years in some countries), Gross National Income per capita averages $650 (and drops as low as $90 in some countries) and the adult literacy rate is less than 20% in some countries. At the current pace of development, Sub-Saharan Africa would not reach the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction until 2147 and for child mortality until 2165; and as for HIV/Aids and hunger, trends in the region are heading up, not down.

The Role of Business

The track record of big business in Africa is mixed at best. There is certainly no shortage of examples of corporate complicity in political corruption, environmental destruction, labour exploitation and social disruption, stretching back more than 100 years. Equally, however, there is …

Continue reading

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/article_africa_pyramid_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/corporate-citizenship-in-africa”]Page[/button] Corporate Citizenship in Africa (book)

Cite this article

Adapted from: Visser, W. (2005) Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid: An African Perspective. In Corporate Citizenship in a Development Perspective, edited by Esben Rahbek Pedersen & Mahad Huniche, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.

Share this page

Share