The Top 10 CSR & Sustainability Trends to Look Out for in 2015

Renewable Energy

Photo: Markus Spiske / http://www.temporausch.com

2015 is finally here and many of us by now have mapped out and planned our New Year’s resolutions. People are hitting the gym, registering for French lessons and committing to their goals of self improvement.

But what about businesses? Should a company create a set of New Year’s resolutions?

Absolutely!

If you’re a small business owner, an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur looking to make a difference in your workplace, consider creating a set of resolutions to help you scale your company’s positive impact this year.

I’ve established a list of trends to look out for this year to help you get started:

1. Wanted: CSOs

More and more companies are deciding to add another c-suite member to their roster, an employee dedicated to sustainability. This trend has trickled down into senior, mid-level and even entry-level positions, geared towards ensuring positive impact throughout the company. Having a CSR or Sustainability department is a great idea, especially for companies who have historically been removed from the world of conscious capitalism.

Another trend, however, is the practice of dismantling a positive impact department. But don’t get your feathers ruffled, this can also be a good thing. Companies such as Patagonia are removing departments focused on sustainability in attempts of making their impact efforts more ingrained throughout the entire company. Maura Dilley writes about it in her article, Patagonia’s New, Decentralized Approach to Sustainability Management.

But for now, most companies will continue to create and build their CSR and Sustainability departments, building a dedicated department to strengthen corporate good.

2. Divesting 

2014 was the year of oil divesting. We will most likely see this trend grow in 2015, with even more companies committing to divestment.

3. Embracing innovation

It takes new ways of thinking, risk-taking and creativity to breed innovation. Providing employees with the opportunity to think outside of the box may be the best decision a company can make this year.

4. Employee matching programs

Many companies are already participating in corporate-wide employee donation matching programs. Though, in 2015 we’ll begin to see improvements made within this realm. Matching programs will become more meaningful with the integration of strengthened employee engagement incentives (i.e. volunteer days, fundraising support, etc.).

5. Tracking impact

Impact performance reporting is important, not only because it allows your company to showcase its efforts to stakeholders, but it also helps you track your results, learn from mistakes and build on successes. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to impact reporting. Consider attending GRI training to increase accountability or hire an expert in the field of social auditing.

6. Supply chain transparency

Customers want the whole picture. And they aren’t going to be happy to find out down the road that your company was breaking compliance or human rights law within its supply chain. 100% transparency will move from being something rewarded to being something made mandatory by conscious consumers. We’ll see companies who ignore this advice fall to the wayside.

7. Replacing with renewables

This one’s a no-brainer. Renewables make so much sense. Not only do they save company dollars in the long-run, but they help companies become more sustainable. It’s win-win for both the environment and your wallet.

8. Embracing the best practices of the sharing economy

In the past year or so it seems as though the sharing economy has taken off with exemplary growth. Traditional companies, social enterprises and socially conscious companies should take note, learn from their failures and consider implementing some of the industry’s successes.

9. Building and strengthening CSR and sustainability related content

Content is king. Without it, no one has any idea whether or not you’re a good company or a shoddy one. Make it a point to share your stories. It’ll increase accountability, build your reputation and inspire further action from your competitors.

10. Scaling impact

This is a big one. If you’re doing something right, grow it. Whether this means making your innovative idea available to others (i.e. make it open source) or inspiring word of mouth to get your idea to grow, scale it. Don’t stand in the way of making corporate good amazing. Scale positive impact as much as possible and watch the world around you be better off because of it.

Hopefully this list of projected trends has sparked some thoughts and ideas about your company’s CSR and sustainability New Year’s resolutions. Plan and commit to your goals and make this year the best yet!

Has your company committed to some great resolutions for 2015? I invite you to share them in the comments section below or Tweet them @CSRtist.

And don’t forget to follow the blog for updates and regular posts relating to corporate good, sustainability and positive impact.

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