Perhaps we need to clarify what we understand by CSR in Construction?
Whether we mean Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainable Responsibility or even Carbon Social Responsibility is somewhat irrelevant and I am comfortable with all definitions. What is important of course is how we approach, manage and embed CSR within the organisation.
Probably one of the least effective CSR approaches would be one that is scattergun, uncoordinated and of a tick box nature to enable us just to tick the CSR box for bids, company literature and websites.
CSR starts with understanding the organisations impact, on social, sustainability, education, employment, on the planet, on communities and more. Once that impact is understood, measures can be planned and implemented to minimise or eliminate those impacts. CSR needs real commitment to integrate responsible practices into daily organisational operations to address impact.
CSR, as I recently quoted on twitter it is about striving for zero impact and a closed loop system that addresses resources used.
Sources of CSR inspiration I suggest delegates on my CSR events and workshops check out, as they have significance within construction, include
Yvon Chouinard and the essential reading: Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman (http://amzn.to/otp3vT) that includes a chapter on how Patagonia as client extends it’s CSR and environmental values to construction projects.
Secondly the late Ray Anderson, (Interface Flooring) probably the most influential CSR and Sustainability thinker in the built environment. His Mount Sustainability and Zero Mission thinking has inspired many. Check out Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: How Interface proved that you can build a successful business without destroying the planet (http://amzn.to/r00VAJ)
A recent article written for CSRWire explored the link between CSR, carbon management and localism within construction and FM which fired an interesting debate on a possible new thinking for CSR – Carbon Social Resposnibility
I await to see who will be the first construction organisation in the UK to become members of what I view as the best commitment possible to CSR – the 1% for the Planet movement. That’s one percent of turnover going to offset the impact your organisation may have on the environment. Commitment yes, but perhaps just a fraction of the cost of really addressing construction impact.
(This post was written in connection with the linkedin CSR in Construction group)