In 2010, I worked with a client on developing a Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) strategy. I still remember the morning when we sat down for chat with the CEO and he gave us his three-point agenda. As much as I feel that management input and vision have a place in a strategy, the issues that he raised were neither significant nor relevant; he only wanted them included because he had recently returned from a conference in Europe that emphasized them.
This approach to setting materiality on CSR issues is not uncommon in countries where CSR is still confused with Customer Sales Representative (true story!). Since the concept is new, management often tries to model CSR efforts on the best practices from developed countries. While it is helpful to strive for international best practices, it is imperative that CSR issues are prioritized based on your own ground reality.
I recently wrote a post in Fast Company that talks about the four things companies in developing countries should consider while setting materiality on CSR issues. Go here to read the post.
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