Rick Lambell is a Consultant with 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 LambellCSR champions play a key role in engaging people and embedding CSR into organisational strategy. Our State of CSR Australia 2010/11 Insight Series #1 – “CSR and Governance: Practices and Challenges” found that 65% of managers surveyed said that their organisations had CSR champions in place to assist them in meeting their CSR objectives.

Champions are an organisation’s most passionate, committed advocates for CSR.  They are on the front-line in terms of educating staff and building internal buy-in for CSR initiatives. Their skills, experience and energy can play a key role in driving environmental and community initiatives forward, while also providing an important source of ideas and feedback on the effectiveness of an organisation’s CSR strategy and programs.

For individuals, involvement in a CSR champion network or team provides an opportunity to put personal values and beliefs into action, and build relationships with like-minded individuals. It also offers the chance to gain new skills and experience to enhance their career development.

Magalie Marais is an Associate with the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR). She visited Vietnam in February 2011 as a guest lecturer at the University of Hanoi in partnership with La Trobe University (Melbourne).

Magalie MaraisIntegrating CSR principles with economic development could be a pathway to a sustainable national competitiveness for a country with a tradition rooted in mutual aid and solidarity.

Vietnamese people can be proud of their country. After years of military conflicts, the fight for independence and international economic alienation, Vietnam’s economic growth and the reduction in poverty are impressive by any measure.

According to the data provided by the AusAid program, since 1993 Vietnamese growth in real gross domestic product has averaged around 7.5 per cent a year and the poverty rate has been reduced from 58 per cent in 1993 to 13 per cent in 2008.

While the country’s success has been driven by its export orientation, market liberalisation and job creation in the private sector, challenges lie ahead in its efforts to maintain high growth rates and meet poverty reduction targets.

Natasha Malinda 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 experience working with clients on sustainability reporting for ACCSR I have found many common challenges and pitfalls for all types of organisations along their reporting journey.

Sustainability reporting is a steep learning curve. It reinforces to both companies and individuals why they embarked on the sustainability journey in the first place and where their organisation’s and their own values and commitments lie.

The biggest mistake a company can make in its attitude to reporting is approaching the task as a PR exercise. Although sustainability reports are good communication tools, a great sustainability report is fundamentally about accountability and performance management.

The second biggest mistake is failing to educate staff on that fact. Educating employees about why you have decided to report, why it matters and what this means for your company is the first step in gaining internal buy-in. Once these goals are established internally, this makes the reporting process much easier.

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