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Bob and Sam at Collingwood

Are standards of behaviour in football declining? If so, how should Clubs handle them? And can CSR practitioners learn anything from footy?

Besides what we see in the news, a “List of Australian Rules Football incidents” on Wikipedia gives some clues about problem behaviour in football. Incidents could be anything outside the expected behaviour of footballers.

Paul Hohnen

Paul Hohnen facilitating one of ACCSR's workshops.

Last month was a tough one. As a card-carrying optimist working on the sustainable development agenda, I was struck by how pessimistic the expert community has become about humankind’s prospects this century.

Where a decade ago there was still optimism that things could be turned around on issues like climate change, deforestation and over-fishing, people are now openly saying that it is too late. Humankind will have to experience a profound crisis before it understands that the “doom and gloom” and “limits to growth” fraternity were right after all.

As a regular attendee of international sustainability events, let me share with you a few examples of what I heard during April.

First, there was a business and industry conference hosted by the UN Environment Programme and International Chamber of Commerce in Paris on 11-12 April. The purpose of the event was to explore ways of accelerating progress towards a low-carbon, resource efficient, green economy, the theme of a major UN sustainability conference to be held next year.

Suzanne YoungMagalie Marais  By Dr Suzanne Young and Magalie Marais.

Our personal and professional journeys led us during recent months to develop a research project based on a comparison of CSR reporting practices between France and Australia. Characterised by very different national institutions of governance and views of society, these two countries offer interesting insights for understanding the meaning and the stakes associated with CSR reporting at a macro and a micro-level.

A number of key conclusions have arisen from our study.

1. CSR reporting is stronger, broader and deeper and CSR practices are more transparent in France than Australia. This could be due to national characteristics such as the governance system or regulation which has made reporting mandatory. The French governance system prioritises a stakeholder perspective and may make regulation around CSR more acceptable. Regulated reporting seems to be an effective tool to enhance social progress of CSR in France.

2. Similar to other international studies, this study found that industry characteristics override national characteristics in certain high risk/impact industries.

3. Regulation may not act as just a leveller but can provide opportunities for innovation and renewed strategic considerations in regard to CSR especially in the environmental field. It creates a positive driver for innovative CSR practices for all types of industries but especially for the ones characterised by a “low level” of environmental and social risks.

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