Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility

This year’s annual Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility event was one for the books. Corporate sustainability is a business strategy that focuses on the ethical, social, environmental, cultural and economic stances. It has become increasingly important to a younger workforce a strong company culture. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business model that helps a company be socially accountable about important causes – yet another increasingly crucial aspect that job seekers look for.

These are two very important concepts that materialize differently based on the industry. Thankfully, this event had three wonderful panelists that provided a diverse representation among many sectors: Detroit Venture Partners’ Brandon Epstien; Rebel Nell’s Amy Peterson; and Finn Partners’ Jane P. Madden.

Transparency is key

Jane spoke extensively about how organizations have to commit to transparency and an honest/modest way of communicating their values. Many things can be evaluated to enact/maintain CSR such as measuring talent, reviewing the diversity of an organization’s C-Suite, ensuring the company’s code of conduct represents company values and more. In regard to sustainability, she said, “If you protect your [organization’s] people, and you protect the planet, your company will be more profitable.”

Asking questions is important

Amy said, “As consumers become more conscious with their dollars, they should ask more questions [e.g., sourcing, manufacturing, quality, etc.]; and company’s need to be more transparent.” Rebel Nell certainly exemplifies CSR. The company employs women from homelessness, shelters, refugee backgrounds, etc. and empowers them with countless helpful resources.

Measure CSR accordingly

Brandon had a unique perspective of being dedicated to helping entry-level coders get their start and successfully integrate into larger companies. When it comes to monitoring CSR he said, “You can score your corporate sustainability and social responsibility by analyzing character, cash and credit.”

Lastly, a huge thank you to the host and sponsor, Finn Partners. We appreciate your efforts to have this important discussion.

Megan Bonelli (formerly Peterson) is a Senior Account Executive at Franco, and a Detroit PRSA board member/blog committee chair.

Megan Bonelli and Nancy Skidmore at the PRSA Detroit Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility