Community Engagement and Investment

Sustainable entrepreneurs are embedded in the communities in which they operate and as such need to take into account their relationships with local governments and the natural and physical environment in those communities as well as the quality of life provided for residents in close proximity to where the company operates and in distant areas where the company’s products and services can improve living conditions.

While businesses generally benefit their communities by improving the standard of living and providing community members with products and services that fulfill their needs, companies can also contribute to society through philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR).  Philanthropy can take many forms and includes donations of cash, products and employee time (i.e., volunteering) to charities and other nonprofit groups. Some companies enjoy engaging in cause-related marketing, which is essentially a partnership between a company and a nonprofit that calls for the business to market its products with a promise that a portion of the sales will be donated to the nonprofit.  This strategy certainly benefits the nonprofit; however, the company obviously hopes that it will see a positive uptick in sales and be able to add to its customer base.  CSR initiatives vis-à-vis the community includes recruiting and training disabled veterans and providing flexible schedules and benefits to Olympic athletes to support their training activities.

While the concept of community as a stakeholder typically focuses on the communities where the company is directly involved it should not be forgotten that decisions that a company makes with regard to other stakeholders can also impact communities.  The clearest illustration of this is the impact that outsourcing to foreign countries by larger retailers has had on the communities in which their former domestic suppliers were operating.  As those suppliers, many of which were among the largest employers in their local communities, lost the business previously provided from the retailers drastic measures were needed to keep their doors open.  Many of them were forced to lay off workers, frequently people who had worked for the suppliers for many years and who had parents and grandparents who had done the same.  The economic and psychological impact on the communities where the suppliers were operating was often devastating and has led to a strong activist backlash against the retailers.

Suppliers are important stakeholders and companies have taken a great interest in the actions of their suppliers and the impact of the business activities of those suppliers on the local communities in which they operate.  A number of US companies have been embarrassed by disclosures regarding the poor treatment of local workers by their foreign suppliers and the adverse impact that the manufacturing processes of those supplier have had on the local ecosystems.  In response, US companies have implemented due diligence and inspection procedures for their foreign suppliers to ensure that those suppliers are acting as good citizens in their communities.

PROJECT PUBLICATIONS

Guides

Developing and Implementing CSR Strategy and Commitments

Stakeholders and Stakeholder Engagement

Sustainability Governance and Management

Sustainability Reporting and Auditing

Corporate Social Responsibility for Small Businesses and Startups

Legal and Voluntary Sustainability Standards and Instruments

Handbooks

Corporate Social Responsibility: A Handbook for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Additional Materials

Corporate Social Responsibility: A Library of Resources for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

MANAGEMENT TOOLS

Training Materials

Business Leadership Poster

CSR Handbook for SMEs

Discovering ISO 26000

Future-Fit Business Benchmark (KFI Calculations)

Future-Fit Business Goals (Comparison to Other Standards)

Future-Fit Business Goals (Pivot Goals Examples)

Future-Fit Business Network Sources of Global Threats & Risks

GRI Guidelines to Standards

CSR – ISO 26000 Basic Training Material

Implementing ISO 26000

ISO 9001-2015

Sustainability Handbook

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Books

A Starters Guide to Sustainability Reporting

AccountAbility 1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard (2015)

Building a Performance Measurement System

CSR Implementation Guide for Businesses

Framework for Implementing Effective CSR and Corporate Governance

Future-Fit Business Benchmark (Part-1)

Future-Fit Business Benchmark (Part 2)

GRI 101 Foundation (2016)

Handbook on CSR in India

Stakeholder Engagement in Emerging Markets

Stakeholder Engagement Manual (Volume 1)

Stakeholder Engagement Manual (Volume 2)

Structuring and Staffing Corporate Responsibility

Sustainability Reporting Implementation Roadmap

Sustainability ROI Workbook (May 2017)

Sustainable Management Handbook

Chapters or Articles in Books

Business Strategy for Sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance

CSR, Corporate Governance and Corporate Regulation

Articles in Journals

Corporate Governance and CSR Synergies and Interrelationships

Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability

CSR Theories – Mapping the Territory

How to Become a Sustainable Company

Sustainability: “Embracers” Seize the Advantage

Top Ten CSR Mistakes

Articles in Newspapers and Magazines

CSR Is Now Legal

CSR – Director Notes – Sustainability in the Mainstream

Papers

Calvert Principles for Social Investment

Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Success

CSR and the Role of the Legal Profession

Engaging SMEs in CSR

German Sustainability Code

GIIRS Assessment Resource Guide – Stakeholder Engagement

GRI Small Business Big Impact Booklet

Governance and Multistakeholder Processes

Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability

Guide for General Counsel on Influencing the Board on Sustainability

LSE’s Guide to ESG Reporting

Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2025

Sustainable Development in Law Practice

The Convergence of Corporate Governance and CSR

WEF Global Risks Report (2017)

Government and Other Public Domain Publications

Caux Round Table Principles for Business

Ceres Sustainability Roadmap

CSR for SMEs in Developing Countries

IFC Sustainability Performance Standards

ISO 26000

OECD Guidelines for MNEs

Sustainability Reporting for SMEs

United Nations Global Compact

United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment

WBCSD CSR Primer

Online Articles

CSR and The Supply Chain

CSR Supply Chain Compliance Programs

Websites

AccountAbility

African Institute of Corporate Citizenship

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Business Social Compliance Initiative

Business for Social Responsibility

Business in the Community

Caux Round Table

Ceres

Conference Board

Corporate Register

Corporate Responsibility Officers Association

Entrepreneur.com

Ethos Institute

Ethical Trading Initiative

European Academy of Business in Society

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Fair Labor Association

Forest Stewardship Council

Global Environmental Management Initiative

Global Reporting Initiative

Global Unions

International Council on Mining and Metals

International Labour Organization

International Finance Corporation

International Organization for Standardization

Marine Stewardship Council

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Pivot Goals

Prince of Wale’s Corporate Leaders Group

Principles for Responsible Investment

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Social Accountability International

Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform

Sustainability Reports

The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Transparency International

United Nations Global Compact

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

World Council for Corporate Governance

CSR Reports

First Solar Sustainability Report

Kellogg’s CSR Commitments

KPMG (UN Global Impact)

Medtronic GRI Supplement

Nestle’s Sustainability Review

XPO Logistics Europe (UN Global Impact)

RELATED TOPICS

Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Sustainable Leadership

Sustainability and Organizational Culture

Sustainability Governance and Management

Ethical Management

Management Systems

Organizational Design and Sustainability

Strategic Planning for Sustainability

Sustainability and Corporate Governance

Corporate Social Responsibility

Stakeholder Engagement

Sustainability Reporting and Auditing

Sustainability for Small Businesses and Startups

Sustainability Standards and Instruments

Investor Relations

Environment, Health and Safety

Labor Practices and Working Conditions

Sustainable Human Resources Management

Product Responsibility and Customer Care

Sustainable Product Development

Sustainable Technology Management

Human Rights

Procurement and Supplier Management

Compliance, Ethics and Risk Management

Societal Relations

Governmental Relations

Sustainable Finance