The ‘2.0’ postfix has been used and misused to ‘sex up’ a lot of things lately. Now we propose the same to Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. We believe CSR 2.0 earns its ‘upgrade’ by tying corporate responsibility tightly to Web 2.0 characteristics such as participation, transparency and many-to-many communication. This is a summary of a working paper by Mikkel Sørensen and Nicolai Peitersen, Actics.com on new ways of uniting business goals with greater societal engagement through direct stakeholder involvement.
Luckily, Web 2.0 is not all ‘push’ of demands. There are many motivational ‘pulls’ and reasons to embrace the new empowered stakeholders in an invigorated approach to CSR. CSR 2.0 is all about opening the corporate membrane to let humanity shine out for stakeholder affiliation to reach in. More and more companies have realized the innovative potentials of tapping into lead-user knowledge and opinions. Likewise actively engaging stakeholders on CSR issues to identify better ways of reducing waste, identifying unmet needs and changed consumer preferences is likely to be accepted. But it must be done fair and sincere far away from old-fashioned one-way marketing. Many stakeholders have a very real interest in a company’s operations; stakeholders inhabit the very same threatened globe and would rather have their consummation part of the solution than part of the problem. Besides, stakeholders might have special knowledge on specific issues from chemistry to local demographics in southern American mountain villages. Or the next visitor to the company website might simply have witnessed breaches to the company codes on a factory during travels in India and help conduct supply chain management by letting the company know.
Lastly, let us list 10 changes to CSR that we see accelerate over the coming years, many of which pertains directly to CSR 2.0:
1. Inclusiveness – involving stakeholders directly from beginning to end
2. Market driven – no longer expert driven
3. Innovation – smart companies turn market pressure into stakeholder led innovation
4. Sincerity – you can no longer uphold an image that is not real
5. Co-ownership – a truly embedded value-based culture requires involvement
6. Dynamics – standards and annual audits replaced by 24/7 engagement
7. Quality – CSR as immersive business strategy
8. Personal – It’s about you, not your sector! What are your own ethics?
9. Pluralism – number and nature of CSR projects will expand dramatically
10. Proximity – local impact is global
In 10 years, we believe that CSR 2.0 is fully integrated into business and the term ‘CSR’ left to history and replaced by its more proactive child ‘Corporate Social Opportunity’ (CSO). Most brands not delivering both quality AND design AND ethics will loose out. They cannot compete on the market, their brand value is low and investments next to none existing, and they have a hard time recruiting and retaining staff. They are – in short – facing a very tough uphill battle. It is not a far shot to claim that in a world facing global warming, armed cultural frontiers, and huge developing nations entering the consumption race, ‘meaning’, ‘matter’ or ‘purpose’ are probably the most critical aspects of any product or services tomorrow. CSR 2.0 will become the historic term for how innovation on these parameters originated as co-creation together with stakeholders.
Read the full paper here http://blog.actics.com/index.php/actics-working-papers/