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Why CSR champions remain an untapped resource in many organisations

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.

Yet for many organisations, CSR champion networks remain an untapped or underutilised resource in the drive to integrate CSR and organisational strategy.  Too often organisations establish a champion network without clear alignment of CSR strategy and champion initiatives, milestones and accountabilities to measure progress, or processes in place to recognise and reward champion achievements. After a promising start, many champion networks lose momentum, individuals become disgruntled, and involvement and commitment wanes.

So how can an organisation ensure that they are getting the most out of their champion networks? What are your thoughts?

In my next blog I will outline my 10 tips for success.

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