“It is not good enough to do what the law says. We need to be in the forefront of these [social responsibility] issues.”
Anders Dahlvig, CEO of IKEA, quoted in Financial Times.
The participants of our ‘Partner Advisory Board’ for corporate sustainability & CSR echoed the same belief as many of the industry leaders; calling for a transparent & accountable future.
Artemis held its first ‘Partner Advisory Board’ meeting with the industry pioneers in Indonesia. The meeting was attended by representatives from Maybank, Indofood, GE, Kalbe & more.
The main objective of the Artemis PAB is to create a forum for CSR & Sustainability experts in the region. The aim is to allow them to learn from each other, connect & synchronize their efforts.
The three main themes discussed during the first PAB were:
- CSR/Sustainability in the post-covid world
- Millennials & Gen Z’s expectations
- Relationship between CSR & Brand Value
Key highlights from the discussion:
Shift from CSR to Sustainability
There is a shift today towards a more proactive approach to sustainability— aiming to create positive value & mitigating risks— away from a reactionary CSR approach of solving the problems already created or compensating for them. The participants, therefore, believe that a ‘sustainability’ approach is more valuable for society.
Shift to online campaigns and donation
As a result of COVID-19, the corporates are seeing a shift towards online campaigns and more outbound donations to charities, healthcare institutes among other things & an increased focus on staff safety. To protect the staff’s interests and health, most companies are avoiding any face-to-face volunteering or employee engagement activities. Nevertheless, most participants agreed that they are seeing an increasing interest from their employees to engage in activities that will allow them to give back to society.
Higher need for evidence-based impact as a result of COVID-19
Another prevalent trend as a result of covid is that most companies have become more outcome & impact-oriented. There is a higher demand from stakeholders to see what & how much impact was created by their activities or money donated. The growing belief is that the next 10 years need a lot of focus on sustainability backed by evidence-based reports to overcome the challenges faced by society today on environmental, health & community fronts. There is a need for accurate & reliable data so we can focus on creating positive impact and also make sure we can mitigate risks and reduce negative impact.
Increase demands from Millennials & Gen-Z to be more socially responsible
All participants believe that as the millennial & Gen-Z are becoming a bigger part of the consumer & employee pool, there is much more pressure on companies & brands to incorporate the triple bottom line. The new generations are fast becoming the driving force for companies to become more transparent about the social impact created.
Impact data forms an integral part of story-telling for brands
As the younger generations demand more transparency & accountability from brands, they want impact storytelling to include clear & reliable impact data. They are not satisfied with general claims in PR anymore but want to see specific data supporting the claims made. The participants also agreed that brand value has a direct correlation with impact data & impact storytelling.
Need for better understanding of impact & how to measure impact at all levels
Last but not the least, there is a growing consensus that we need a common understanding of what impact means at all levels, to have a clear alignment on what impact we are trying to achieve and how to measure it. Most participants agreed having clarity on these three questions are critical for enabling all players to achieve their social & sustainability aspirations.
The first PAB meeting left us all feeling optimistic about the direction we are moving towards. Companies understand the importance of sustainability. They are not just willing to take required actions for it but are already doing so in so many ways. One of the biggest themes that came out of this meeting is the need for ‘Evidence-based reporting’. Evidence-based reporting ensures that true positive impact is created to the largest extent possible.
Written by Simon Oberman, COO Artemis Impact