One could argue that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and green initiatives walk hand in hand. The challenge for companies today is how to valuate and measure the effects of activities like these. I’d like to look at various ways of doing that and how this could connect with RecycleMatch’s business.
First of all let me introduce myself. I’m Snorre Gylterud, working at RecycleMatch during my exchange program in entrepreneurship at University of Oslo and Rice University. My interests in entrepreneurship are within organizational productivity and effectiveness using information technology. I have a Masters degree in computer science with additional classes in economics and management. I look forward to being in the environmental community and learn more about sustainability from RecycleMatch and its peers. I’ve been intrigued by companies’ efforts towards CSR and reputation. Web marketing and communities open a new world of both positive and negative feedback opportunities. I have chosen to divide the blog post in two connected parts covering the green value and background for CSR in this first post.
Today anyone can post negative things about your company or your product and let it spread all over the Internet and vice versa on positive feedback. I think, and have already seen, that green initiatives can lead to positive feedback in the diverse communities around the environmental challenges and global sustainability. This enhances the reputation of companies and could be included in CSR efforts by the companies.
Porter & Kramer (2006 “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility”, Harvard Business Review, December 2006, pp. 78-92) tries to justify CSR efforts through both sustainability and reputation, as I mentioned above. Additionally they argue that moral obligation and trust among stakeholders are important in the CSR perspective. Further they discuss how to map social opportunities through value chain analysis and contextual analysis. In the value chain analysis they argue that companies strategically identify negative elements in their value chain, in order to remove them. The contextual analysis describes a diamond framework to look at the vicinity and identify benefits to society and your companies’ competiveness.
An example of the value chain CSR analysis is the disposal of production waste and redundant material in the procurement process. These materials usually end up as landfill. RecycleMatch helps companies get rid of their redundant materials or waste streams in a better way, which again could improve your feedback buzz. On the contextual analysis an example could be the support of a sustainable system. By giving away excessive material to a local, small entrepreneur that could reuse your material and create value from it could boost your companies’ green profile and reputation. RecycleMatch has success stories for this as well (http://www.recyclematch.com/case-studies/). Do you have any other stories or approaches to creating green value within CSR? We would love to hear about them. Stay tuned for part two of this blog series.