Jonathan Dutton is Managing Director of CIPS Australia, the peak body for the procurement profession.

The re-arrival of carbon on the federal government agenda, firstly as a tax and, secondly, in time, as an emissions trading scheme, has had all manner of organisations reaching for their files from two years ago and dusting them off. Despite the long legal road yet to travel through Parliament and the Senate, carbon tax/emissions trading increasingly have an air of inevitability about them.

But business is not yet ready. They were going to be ready of course, but the failure to get the legislation through the Senate the first time, the shambles of Copenhagen in December 2009, and the pre-election promises to do nothing, soon killed the momentum. But, coming again it surely is – sooner or later. In any case, it is not just a compliance issue, nor even a risk issue. Simply, consumers (and employees for that matter) are demanding sustainable solutions.

Former NZ PM Helen Clark said at the CIPSA event in Sydney in June 2007 that consumers would in the future punish organisations that did not offer a sustainable solution. She was right then, and will still be right in future. Sustainability is set to become part of our marketing process due to customer needs to buy green. As Hillary Clinton said during the GFC – “the world’s shoppers are still buying green.” Organisations will have little option but to embrace carbon management and sustainability in general in the long run. Indeed they may even need to broaden their contribution to meet the even wider context of social responsibility.

Rick is a Consultant at the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR). He previously worked with PwC Australia where he was recognised as joint winner of the CSR Champion of the Year Award in 2010.

Rick LambellIn my last blog – Why CSR champions remain an untapped resource in many organisations – I argued that CSR champion networks remain an underutilised resource in the drive to integrate CSR into organisational strategy.

As promised, the following are my 10 tips for success:

  1. Find a balance between formality and flexibility. To be effective, champion networks need a basic level of structure and process. This may include a champion leadership team, defined roles and responsibilities, the setting of short and long-term targets, and a reporting dashboard to measure progress over time. However, the scope of activities needs to be realistic; for most people, the role of CSR champion is a voluntary commitment to be balanced against existing work obligations.
  2. Focus on the issues people are most passionate about. People are drawn to CSR champion networks for different reasons, including concern for the environment, the community, or issues such as gender diversity in the workplace. Champions should be given the opportunity to pursue the issues that most align with their interests, skills and experience.
  3. Communicate the link between CSR strategy and champion activities. People need to have a clear sense of how their actions as CSR champions are aligned to their organisation’s overall CSR strategy. The strategy needs to be communicated to the champions and opportunities to contribute ideas and feedback built into the governance process, such as focus groups or champion surveys.

Natasha is a Consultant at the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) and has worked on sustainability reports for ACCSR clients since 2009.

Natasha MalindaIn my previous blog – Sustainability Reporting: it’s the journey that matters – I talked about some of the common challenges and pitfalls that organisations face along the sustainability reporting journey.

For those about to embark on their own sustainability reporting journey, here are my top 10 tips:

  1. Remember the primary purpose of reporting is accountability, not marketing.
  2. Don’t forget to educate your employees, including senior management, on that fact.
  3. Engage with all of your stakeholders, including employees, to find out what’s important to them. Balance that against what’s important to the company then report on those material issues in a way that is clear and succinct.
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