We are all aware of the term, “environmental, social and governance” – also known as ESG. It describes the three central factors used in the investment community to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of an organization. Although the environmental and social elements are very familiar to the CR practitioner, we may struggle at times to appreciate “governance.”
Governance is defined as a “system by which an organization makes and implements decisions in pursuit of its objectives” (ISO 26000: 2010 – Guidance on Social Responsibility). The definition is broad. So how does governance work in our day-to-day activities within the organizations that each of us belong to?
One on my responsibilities involves serving as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Corporate Responsibility Officer’s Association, Inc. – a New Jersey nonprofit corporation. In this position, I am the person that has to make sure that governance is at the heart of everything that we do.
Today Elliot Clark, CEO of SharedXpertise, and I signed a Master Services Agreement that will provide management services to CRA thus enabling our governance to focus on the pursuit of our objectives. With the able assistance of Jane Luxton, the CRA Corporate Secretary (Partner in the Environmental Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP), this Agreement includes a formal Statement of Work that defines the governance of our organization. With the agreement in place, CRA now has an Executive Director (Allie Williams) and a Manager of Membership Services (Heather Nielsen). Our Advisory Board is now formally part of the governance of CRA.
However, governance is a system, not an assemblage of leaders. The CRA system of governance includes a quality management concept – the “Voice of the Customer.” The people mentioned above have reached out to many of the members of the Association to learn how the system of governance can deliver “value” given the investment that each of you are making in the CRA. Our governance is mindful of the fact that the objectives and the decisions on how to pursue them must come from you. We will be listening to your “voice” as part of this new beginning for our Association.
Welcome to the governance of the “new and improved” CRA. Please help us take the next step in fulfilling our vision– “to promote the practice of sustainability and responsible organizational behavior as good for both society and driving organizational results.” We will with heighten the dialog as we commence the planning of our annual meeting – CRA@COMMIT!Forum.