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How to get your CEO to embrace CSR

Want to get a reluctant CEO to embrace CSR? Show them the money - more at www.remsol.co.uk

Do you work in an organisation with a leader that’s reluctant to embrace CSR, sustainability and responsible business? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here’s a selection of 5 tips for getting your CEO across the line.

Whether it’s your job or just something you recognise would be a benefit to your organisation, getting started with CSR can be slow when the boss is reluctant. The good news is that the barriers and obstacles are common to many situations, and there are tried-and-tested approaches you can take to help you overcome them.

“Show Me the Money”

All businesses share a single, unifying goal and that’s to make money. CEOs understand this and it’s their job to put in place the strategies and plans needed to achieve it.

So, when you’re trying to convince a reluctant CEO, show them how embracing and embedding a culture of CSR will benefit the bottom line through higher sales, increased productivity and better margins that will help your business to grow.

See also: Embedding CSR

Change not charity

Done right, good CSR actually makes a positive difference, whether to your workforce, the environment or your local community. It’s about making changes that do good.

But it’s not just about just giving money to charity. If that’s what your CEO thinks, you need to quickly dispel that myth, because that in itself could be a barrier.

Engaged employees exceed expectations

There’s a wealth of research out there that shows how people want to work for organisations with a purpose-beyond-profit and that they’re prepared to work harder and more productively for companies that do. Engaged employees also stick around.

So explain that, with examples. Smart CEOs understand the value of keeping employee turnover to a minimum – not least because it avoids recruitment and training costs.

If you have one, get a sympathetic non-executive director to support you

Non-executive directors have a crucial role in company governance, which is why even SMEs are now bolstering their Boards with independent outsiders.

It’s their job to help steer the Board and the CEO, making decisions that are in the long-term best interests of the business – which CSR and sustainability so clearly are – and so getting one on your side can help to nudge a reluctant CEO over the line.

Invoke the threat of being beaten by the competition

In order to succeed in their chosen markets, businesses need to outcompete their rivals and CEOs are particularly competitive people – it’s part of the reason why they are where they are.

Use it to your advantage, but be sure to couch it in terms that will resonate: show how more sustainable use of energy will lead to lower overheads, how being more thrift with raw material resources will make unit rate production costs come down, and how changes like this can enable your business to compete on price with its rivals but without losing margin.


Was this helpful? If so, please share it and let us have your thoughts and experiences in the comments. And if you need extra firepower, well, you know where to come – [email protected] 

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