Update on CRA’s Thought Leadership Councils

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Allie Williams, IOM
Executive Director, CRA

Executive Director Report
February 2016

A look at what the CRA Thought Leadership Councils are doing…

The Thought Leadership Councils (TLC’s) are networking groups within the association in which members drive learning and development within the CR community.

Each Council meets via GoToMeeting® teleconference on a monthly basis, providing our members the opportunity to interact with industry peers. This enables everyone to get the most out of their membership and share successes, best practices, benchmarks, trends and publish new findings.

Each is chaired or co-chaired by Members dedicated to achievement of that TLC’s goals, and reports to both the Board and the community at large regarding progress toward the TLC’s goals.

There are four Thought Leadership Councils:

Brand & Reputation Management – Meets the 1st Wednesday of the Month at 4PM ET.

We are roughly a dozen CR and sustainability professionals actively involved in discussing and studying performance measurements among corporate brands.

Recently, the council collectively developed a list of organizations and identified a prioritization of their interests. The idea is a series of private educational webinars with the most recognized brand and reputation research firms to study trends, benchmarks and best practices related to these issues and better understand other industry activities, hear new, innovative ideas in this space and further share back with the greater CRA Membership.

Ratings & Rankings – Meets the 1st Thursday of the Month at 3PM ET.

A tight-knit group of colleagues from corporations all over the country – all mutually engaged in the ratings and rankings area and all with unique perspectives, experiences and expertise. The TLC recognized the value and need for such ratings and rankings, and the value such efforts have for our field.

Currently we are looking at the GRI-G4, and SASB standards with lots a dialogue around benefits and differences of each. We’re discussing the momentum from COP and how we use this momentum. The internal & external stakeholder engagement as it relates to reporting, legal, compliance and finance, and what are investors looking for?

Finally, we’re diving into a horizontal look across individual ranking areas, e.g., human rights, philanthropy, climate change, and more to assure that a deliverable from each ranking firm is showing which firm is working on each and their thresholds through their methodologies.

Professional Development – Meets the 3rd Thursday of the Month at 1PM ET.

The educational arm of the association, the Professional Development TLC is tasked with the identification of programs and services to enhance the influence and effectiveness of practicing corporate responsibility professionals.

Increasingly, corporate responsibility professionals are challenged to both master the technical aspects of their jobs and build trusting relationships and partnerships that influence and empower business leaders and governing boards. The TLC works with the membership of CRA to share best practices that promote positive business and responsibility outcomes.

Current priorities include:
Webinars on topics relevant to corporate responsibility professionals, blogs on topics of current interest, enhancements to the CRA website to improve access to the knowledge base, and surveys on the state of the profession.

Responsible Supply Chain – Meets the Last Tuesday of the Month at 4PM ET.

The Responsible Supply Chain TLC is focused on understanding advanced practices in responsible procurement, as well as taking a hands-on role in developing the future of supply chain ratings and assessment through streamlining of information collection.

ROI – what is the Net Positive? This council understands that ROI is becoming a much bigger deal to the corporations, their supply chains, the investors, talent and even communities. We are learning that most companies can achieve net positive through their supply chain, if core principles are met, including training, transparency, disclosure, and being good corporate citizens and responsibility minded companies.

We are looking at ways to engage the C-suite and get buy-in from the investor relations teams to create more business cases. We study benchmarking, trends, tools and solutions and offer options to support these efforts.

All of our TLCs are open to CRA members and I encourage you to get involved.

Together, we will Learn* Network * Advance.

Posted February 26, 2016 in CR Blog