In the first half of the year, I wrote an article for the Romanian “Community Index Magazine”, focused on showcasing and evaluating the best community projects in Romania. I was surprised and humbled to learn in July that my name even made it onto the cover!

It was a long article entitled “Does your CSR project have actual social impact goals?”

The article took objection to the commonplace approach in CSR in Romania, where projects are run and promoted under an impression of social impact, rather than any measure of actual social impact. This is often based on the misconception that money donated or time spent volunteering as forms of social impact, when in fact they are just a means to an end.

I connect that to the state of the industry here, which is more “old-school CSR” than “new-school shared value”. I write:

Around the world, CSR is now an old term, and the profession has evolved and rebranded to “sustainability” and “shared value”. This is the world that I come from.

There, organisations that boast about money or hours donated often hear a retort questioning the actual impact or effectiveness of the use of the funds. If the organisation cannot respond, the term “green-washing” is thrown back.

Like proper business planning, the CSR Manager must start with the goals. And like standard business operation, money and time are means to facilitate or achieve that end goal.

I provide a few examples of tools or starting points:

  • Materiality assessment
  • SMART goal setting
  • The Sustainable Development Goals

And I conclude with a challenge and call to action to encourage sustainability professionals to presume leadership and take responsibility for projects and activities that have a real, genuine and meaningful impact!

You can read the article by buying the “Community Index Magazine”, available here:

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