​Looking back, Looking forward, trends in community investment and community social responsibility

publication date: Aug 21, 2019
 | 
author/source: Stephanie Robertson, Elizabeth Dove, and Bruce MacDonald

​The last decade has witnessed some profound changes in the way that Canadian corporations invest in the community. More changes are anticipated over the next ten years. Many corporations rely on the support of sector organizations to understand and adapt to this new world. In this session, we will explore what these organizations have learned over the last decade and what we can expect over the next one. We are exploring how the organizations within Canopy work together to foster an environment that supports broader corporate engagement.

  • What are the issues that these groups are finding in the sector where places and purpose and profit come together?
  • What have been some of the biggest changes in the last 10 years?

As we were asking programs the two questions above, we heard that there is increased formality and increased intentionality. That also includes greater employee engagement.

If you ask the people in these programs, you will find that most (70%) say that their work is not well understood within their corporation. Interestingly, stakeholder contributions mirror that company investment. How you invest in stakeholder investment can have a real impact on engagement. Research shows the more a company invests, the more employee engagement and increased government and suppliers. 

While there is a lot of engagement with corporate entrepreneurship, there is also a lot of lack of intentionality. 

If we accept that most companies are still figuring it out and doing this work off the side of their desks, it is worth noting the opportunities are not just profit-based. There is a simultaneous "war for talent" and we hear that young Canadians want to work somewhere that their work is environmental, socially engaged. It is worth asking "Will this work shift to the centre of the desk because it related to corporate sustainability and profit?"

In partnerships, you have to develop alignment that ensures that 1+1 = at least 3 or 4. It's easier to go it alone. More partners are more work. Try to seek out partners where you can amplify your work. 

Canopy is a partnership of the organizations that help corporations navigate through the complex waters of community investment, corporate social responsibility and employee engagement. Canopy is comprised of the following organizations: Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), Conference Board of Canada, Imagine Canada, LBG Canada, Social Innovation @MaRS, Mount Royal University, Realized Worth, St. Michael’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Certificate, and Volunteer Canada

The panel members were Stephanie Robertson, Founder - The SiMPACT Strategy Group, Elizabeth Dove, Director, Corporate Citizenship - Volunteer Canada, and Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO - Imagine Canada. Any errors are due to poor transcription by Ann Rosenfield.



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