Came across an old article that I contributed to CATS Recruit in The Straits Times, on 05 Sep 2013 while I was spearheading De Dietrich’s CSR initiatives in Asia Pacific.

While there is no one size-fits-all approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR), the right programme is one that is aligned with the organisation’s structure, vision and values.

Here are five winning strategies that will positively impact the company and integrate CSR efforts into an executable framework:

Integrate sustainability in the company’s business model

One of the most challenging decisions any organisation faces is how to effectively incorporate a CSR framework into its business model and corporate strategy, while staying profitable and competitive.

The key is to understand your organisation well enough to integrate this commitment seamlessly into its operations and day-to-day running for a sustainable business model and bottom line.

At De Dietrich, a premium kitchen appliance brand, this includes ensuring that environmental considerations are integrated with the conception of each new product.

The appliances are produced using the Eco-Design method in France and Europe, with parts that are at least 95 per cent recyclable. Other sustainability initiatives include efficient usage of resources and minimal energy wastage in production processes.

Engage and involve employees

Employees are invaluable to successful implementation as the internal stakeholders. Taking the time to help them understand the value and purpose of CSR practices will go a long way in motivating them to advocate the cause.

For example, De Dietrich’s staff, chefs and retail partners contributed to environmental conservation by involving themselves in the company’s Plant-A-Tree partnership with the Singapore Garden City Fund, an initiative founded by the Singapore Environmental Council to encourage public awareness of the environment.

It is important to engage employees in CSR policy discussions early on, gather feedback and create enthusiasm for the company’s current initiatives. Invest resources in CSR training courses to equip employees with the knowledge and skills to effectively contribute to the company’s CSR practices and future plans.

Set measurable targets and track results

Evaluate the real impact of the company’s CSR programme by setting measurable environmental, social and economic targets. In line with the objectives, develop key performance indicators and work out the method for measuring results.

A common approach to set goals is the “SMART” guideline to setting goals (specific, measurable, achievable, reliable and time-sensitive), while accreditation and environmental reporting benchmarks are useful measures of tracking progress.

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