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Getting Through to the CEO: Aligning CSR with the Business for Strategic Impact

  • University of Vermont Davis Center 590 Main Street Burlington, VT USA (map)

VBSR Spring Conference
May 12, 2016

University of Vermont Davis Center
590 Main Street
Burlington, VT

Getting Through to the CEO: Aligning CSR with the Business for Strategic Impact

Matt Mayberry, Whole Works
Lise Laurin, EarthShift Global

Click here for conference information and registration.

This is a hands-on workshop designed to help sustainability professionals better integrate their CSR initiatives with the core business strategy in order to gain support from the C-suite.

Learning objectives

As a result of this workshop, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe how a materiality assessment helps prioritize an organization’s CSR initiatives
  • Draw connections between the proposed benefits of their CSR initiatives and elements of their business’s core strategy
  • Determine how their sustainability initiative creates long-term shareholder value
  • Speak the language of business executives and present proposals in a way that is more lik ely to gain the support of the C-suite.

Overview

We will start with a brief presentation in which we present a practical roadmap for sustainability integration. This roadmap consists of 5 key steps: 1) relevance, 2) causality, 3) creativity, 4) prototyping, 5) experimentation. We also present case studies (Dow Chemical, Green Mountain Power) illustrating tightly integrated sustainability efforts.

We will then engage participants in a lively 60 min role-playing exercise in which they work in small teams (acting as the CSO of Amazon) to prepare a pitch for a new CSR initiative to CEO Jeff Bezos. The teams will be given worksheets that include a list of possible CSR initiatives, a materiality assessment grid, a strategy activities map for Amazon, and a causal diagram. Each team will use their materiality assessment to select 2-3 top priority CSR initiatives. Then, using the causal map, they will draw the interconnections between their initiatives, core elements of Amazon’s strategy, and key financial indicators. Each team will then prepare a brief pitch to Bezos based on sound strategic and financial arguments. 

Intended audience

Sustainability professionals at any level who need to gain approval for their CSR initiatives from business executives. This could include corporate sustainability analysts, directors, and CSO’s, EHS officers, NGO leaders, and consultants.

This workshop was presented on November 11, 2015 at PYXERA Global’s Engagement Forum in Washington, D.C. and received great reviews.