The RVR CSR Center research output is “action-oriented”—that is, it is utilized in training programs and to build the capacity of organizations to design and implement their own CSR programs and projects. As our name states, the RVR CSR Center focuses on corporate strategy formulation and implementation, rather than on economic policy making for the public sector.
Moreover, we realize that theoretical frameworks are not enough to equip CSR practitioners with the knowledge on Strategic CSR. Thus, it is important to give them practical tools that have real world applications. As a result, the RVR CSR Center developed a Manual entitled “Towards Strategic CSR: Aligning CSR with the Business and Embedding CSR into the Organization.”
The CSR Manual intends to help CSR practitioners align the company’s CSR strategy with its business situation and capabilities as well as assist practitioners in helping create a CSR strategy that is embedded in strategy and operations.
The Manual is a comprehensive guide for responsible businesses in aligning CSR into their operations and embedding it into the organization. Each framework presented is followed by a series of worksheets to help its readers adapt Strategic CSR, for practitioners to better understand the theories behind the practice. This CSR Manual is a practical reference guide for all companies—depending on size, structure and industry.
Specifically, the CSR Manual will help the practitioner to:
- Assess the company’s business footprint and their stakeholders’ concerns, issues and influences;
- Formulate a CSR strategy that is aligned with its business and social objectives and takes communication, engagement and partnership opportunities into account;
- Implement CSR strategy by developing the elements of implementation (context, content, actor and processes); and
- Develop a plan for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of CSR programs based on identiﬁed objectives.
The Manual is generally applicable across industries. However, it is not a “one-size-fits-all” Manual. The RVR Center will assist organizations in adapting the concepts and contents contained in the Manual. For example, an energy or mining company with a heavy site-specific footprint will design and implement initiatives that would be very different from a mass-consumer fast food firm although both organizations would have to explore their different value chains as part of the analysis required in the Manual.
Training thus leads to capacity building. One initiative is the CSR project implemented in partnership with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The project aims to enhance the sustainability of the mining industry in APEC economies through the development of an educational framework on CSR.
The project output included a publication on CSR in Mining for APEC Economies—a collection of five case studies and one country case and an educational framework, which highlights the importance of using a stages-approach in developing a CSR strategy for the mining industry. The capacity building initiative resulted in the design of a five-day train-the-trainers program using the educational framework developed in the published monograph.
Overall, our approach to training and capacity building has an underlying element of advocacy in so far as we believe in the application of CSR for the benefit of both company and country.