Sustainability Governance and Management

Corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) is like any other important management initiative and requires proactive leadership from the top of the organization.  In fact, it is clear that the “tone at the top” is an important factor in the success or failure of any CSR initiative and the directors and officers of the corporation are uniquely positioned to act as internal champions of CSR and proactively communicate with everyone in the organization on a daily basis about the impact of new environmental and social products and services.  The directors and officers must also commit to investing the time and effort necessary to explain the corporation’s CSR initiatives to customers and other stakeholders and develop and implement metrics for tracking and reporting progress.  While social responsibility certainly extends “beyond the law”, directors and officers must be mindful of their fiduciary duties and understand how laws, regulations and standard contract provisions are rapidly evolving to incorporate environmental and social responsibility standards.  Among the issues and activities that will need to be considered in establishing and maintaining effective governance and management processes for CSR implementation are the following:

  • Understanding the drivers of enhanced board oversight of sustainability including investors’ expectations as to the role and responsibilities of directors and changing societal beliefs regarding the political and social roles of corporations
  • Understanding how CSR is changing the traditional fiduciary duties of directors and officers including the ascendance of the stakeholder-focused model and the introduction of alternative legal architectures for sustainability-oriented businesses
  • Working with the board of directors to integrate environmental and social responsibility into the governance structure and the traditional roles and responsibilities of directors
  • Assisting the board of directors on the design and implementation of an effective framework for board oversight of CSR and corporate sustainability
  • Counseling the board of directors and senior management on the development and implementation of CSR commitments and instruments
  • Incorporating reports on CSR initiatives into board meetings and understanding how to create effective environmental and social responsibility committees and integrate sustainability into the activities of other board committees
  • Developing job responsibilities for the senior social responsibility officer and designing effective internal organizational structures and systems for managing CSR initiatives and programs and supporting CSR commitments and expectations such as preparation and distribution of sustainability reports and stakeholder engagement
  • Implementing formal management systems relating to sustainability-related issues and topics based appropriate standards issued by the International Organization for Standardization (e.g., ISO 14001 (environment); ISO 26000 (social responsibility) and ISO 28000 (supply chain security))
  • Reviewing and modifying job responsibilities and compensation arrangements of executive team members, particularly the chief executive officer, to incorporate CSR commitments and attainment of CSR-related performance goals
  • Providing education and training to directors and executive team members on sustainability issues including the creation and management of stakeholder advisor groups and teams of external experts
  • Assisting directors, executive team members and managers and employees within the internal sustainability group with key CSR-related activities such as transparency and disclosure and stakeholder engagement
  • Identifying and counseling directors and officers on ethical issues that will arise as they discharge their duties and responsibilities with respect to CSR



Sustainability Governance and Management


Corporate Social Responsibility: A Handbook for Sustainable Entrepreneurs


Training Materials

Business Leadership Poster

Discovering ISO 26000

CSR – ISO 26000 Basic Training Material

Implementing ISO 26000

ISO 9001-2015

Sustainability Handbook



Building a Performance Measurement System

CSR Implementation Guide for Businesses

Structuring and Staffing Corporate Responsibility

Sustainable Management Handbook

Chapters or Articles in Books

Business Strategy for Sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance

Articles in Journals

Corporate Governance and CSR Synergies and Interrelationships

Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Sustainability

CSR Theories – Mapping the Territory

How to Become a Sustainable Company

Sustainability: “Embracers” Seize the Advantage

Top Ten CSR Mistakes

Articles in Newspapers and Magazines

CSR Is Now Legal

CSR – Director Notes – Sustainability in the Mainstream


Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Success

Governance and Multistakeholder Processes

The Convergence of Corporate Governance and CSR

Government and Other Public Domain Publications

Caux Round Table Principles for Business

Ceres Sustainability Roadmap

IFC Sustainability Performance Standards

ISO 26000

United Nations Global Compact




African Institute of Corporate Citizenship

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Business Social Compliance Initiative

Business for Social Responsibility

Business in the Community

Caux Round Table


Conference Board

Corporate Register

Corporate Responsibility Officers Association

Ethos Institute

Ethical Trading Initiative

European Academy of Business in Society

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Fair Labor Association

Forest Stewardship Council

Global Environmental Management Initiative

Global Reporting Initiative

Global Unions

International Council on Mining and Metals

International Labour Organization

International Finance Corporation

International Organization for Standardization

Marine Stewardship Council

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Pivot Goals

Prince of Wale’s Corporate Leaders Group

Principles for Responsible Investment

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

SDG Compass

Social Accountability International

Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform

Sustainability Reports

The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Transparency International

United Nations Global Compact

Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

World Council for Corporate Governance


Sustainability and Entrepreneurship

Strategic Planning for Sustainability

Sustainability and Corporate Governance

Corporate Social Responsibility

Stakeholders and Stakeholder Engagement

Sustainability Reporting and Auditing

Sustainability for Small Businesses and Startups

Sustainability Standards and Instruments

Community Engagement and Investment