Sunday, June 15, 2008

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Workplace

When it comes to incorporating social responsibility or sustainability in the workplace, it’s not just about creating a green building or complying with green building code; it’s about creating healthy and productive workplaces for people while increasing social and shareholder value for the organization.

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list (from Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine) ranks firms based on how well they perform in eight categories: shareholders, community, governance, diversity, employees, environment, human rights, and product. Their scores draw on both financial information and measures of corporate social performance. Here's my take on how the workplace can support these social performance categories:

Shareholders
Use minimal infrastructure resources to maximize shareholder value (minimize total amount of real estate needed which in turn impacts energy use, water use, cleaning, etc.)

Community
Accommodate safe business practices that don’t negatively impact their surroundings.

Create a desirable environment which supports local recruiting.

Governance
Adopt operational policies and protocols in support of a healthy and productive work environment.

Diversity
Accommodate a variety of work styles and work functions through flexible work settings, furniture, technology and training.

Employees
Design an environment is healthy and productive (access to natural light, visual stimulation, access to nature, etc.)

Support work-life balance through alternative work policies (work at home, desk sharing, etc.)

Environment
Implement transportation demand management strategies in place to minimize carbon footprint (public transportation incentives or rebates, bicycle or other personal transportation accommodations).

Design a workplace that is highly flexible and adaptable, accommodating organizational change and minimizing construction impact.

Human Rights
Create work policies and practices that ensure a safe and healthy environment

Products
Building materials, furniture and all products used in the workplace are safe, non-toxic and reusable if not easily recyclable.

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