A successful CR strategy requires more than the selection of suitable topics and consideration of relevant stakeholders. Real success demands a systematic plan and clear responsibilities. Cooperations and partnerships pose a great advantage and ensure a successful implementation as well.

>> Management and delivery

Achieving CR objectives calls for a systematic, managed approach to corporate responsibility. To accomplish this, it’s important to plan and implement regulations, processes and initiatives that align specifically with each objective. Working with management systems can be valuable here. It’s also important to ensure proper implementation. Here, it helps to plan the project carefully and to assign responsibilities clearly.

>> Networks and collaboration

It is of great importance for SMEs to realize their CR strategy through various co-operations. This may be a partnership with one or more companies pursuing similar objectives. 

For instance, funding a company child care center to help employees to balance work and family life better might only be feasible within a network of businesses.

Often, partnerships offer new possibilities by combining different skill sets.
Gaps in specific areas of expertise – say, in how to optimize carbon or water footprints and achieve significant cost savings – can be closed by partnering with local environmental professionals. For many SMEs, joining and participating in networks like the United Nations Global Compact can also be valuable in terms of sharing knowledge and experience. 

 

 

Example Management systems

This example is an extract from the Sustainability Report 2011 published by Neumarkter Lammsbräu

Small and medium-sized enterprises often reject the notion that management systems can serve a useful purpose in steering a company. Many of these businesses believe that management systems are nothing more than a pointless expense and accomplish little other than add layers of bureaucracy.

Any costs associated with management systems are seen either as unnecessary or – in instances where customers’ terms and conditions call for proof that a given management system is in place – as a necessary evil. Other companies, including many in the organic products sector, believe that it’s enough if the company simply lives by the philosophy at the heart of its corporate mission. Many of these businesses are thus managed more by instinct than reason. As a result, they run the risk of being fully reliant on the business aptitude and convictions of specific individuals – just one or two company leaders, perhaps.

Neumarkter Lammsbräu understands that management guides are tools that enable us to advance our company, to deliver our corporate vision, and to spread the tasks of leadership across more than one pair of shoulders. At the same time, we emphasize the importance of not subjugating ourselves to the dictates a particular management guide, choosing instead to adapt such systems to our own particular circumstances and business environment. The value of the management guides for our business lies, in part, in the fact that they enable us to concentrate better on aspects like improving our environmental performance or sharpening our customer focus.

At the same time, management systems always exert gentle pressure on the business by reminding us to deal with, and include in our decision-making, those less agreeable aspects to which we might otherwise be inclined to turn a blind eye in day-to-day operations.

For many years now, we’ve worked with the EFQM Excellence Model. This serves as a framework for our organizational management system and helps us to map and improve our entire business – from our strategy and management to our processes, our people working at Neumarkter Lammsbräu and, ultimately, the products of our work. We are careful to ensure that we take sustainability factors into account in every area of our business.

We look at ways to improve our environmental, customer, and occupational safety performance with the aid of an integrated management system comprising separate management guides that cover “classic” certifiable standards. The latter include EMAS for environmental management and DIN ISO 9001 for quality management.

We can only follow all these management guides correctly if we document and communicate the planning, targeting, implementation and evaluation of our business operations properly. Documentation serves to remind us at intervals of the decisions we have taken and allows us to reconstruct and review the initiatives that have followed in their wake. Breathing life into management guides means incorporating them thoroughly into company strategy, and the initiatives they spawn must be communicated actively within the organization.

How does this work at Neumarkter Lammsbräu? The company builds its strategies on intermediate-term and long-term strategic plans.

You can find out more in the report.

Neumarkter Lammsbräu, Sustainability Report 2011, p. 18  

 

Example Management systems