Prospect - developing a CSR policy and toolkit
Prospect is a trade union with members from across the public and private sector from a range of professional grades and levels. Prospect wanted to develop a model CSR (corporate social responsibility) trade union policy which incorporated the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and trade union values of international core labour standards/ trade union principles of decent and fair work. Prospect also wanted to develop an ‘audit trail’ or CSR checklist that could be used by union representatives to know what to look for in their workplace policies.
What did we do?
Article 13 researched, drafted, and wrote a ‘toolkit’ for use by any Prospect union representative in either the public or private sector within their company. Managing to develop such a tool kit so that it was applicable to all CSR index measurements, Article 13’s work also promoted the stakeholder role of trade union members in consultation on CSR reporting and developing CSR policy.
The contribution from Article 13 was a project with enough scope and robustness to communicate what a CSR policy should look like from a union perspective and how it incorporates, or should incorporate, the MDGs. This enabled union representative members to utilise the checklist and identify things that should be in an existing or proposed CSR policy, tips on how to demonstrate the incorporation of the MDGs into a company’s policy, and links to other information to inform about employee engagement around CSR.
The results were presented by Article 13 to showcase firstly the role of trade unions in a companys’ CSR agenda, and vice versa. This involved looking at the values of the union and trying to align them somewhat with the company’s, it also meant identifying areas where employee / employer engagement could help develop existing policies, and the role of a CSR framework in delivery. Secondly, Article 13 expanded the concept beyond just defining what CSR is, to look at rather what an organisation’s policies state and what it does in practice. The project spread awareness to other policy areas such as environment, employment, equality and diversity, and community. This allowed stakeholders to identify the areas of synergy between the MDG objectives and company policy or strategy.
The final stage of the project involved Article 13 facilitating the ongoing process of objective measurement and improvement by putting in place mechanisms for verifying, reporting and monitoring CSR activities. Article 13 also provided further information and resources for guidance including legislation, government bodies and international initiatives and conventions.
Article 13 took a specific angle to CSR and approached it from a perspective that enabled a large range of stakeholders to identify with CSR and communicate back through other stakeholders groups. The benefit to the company and their policies was that the CSR agenda initiated by employees had a global reach that was in turn specific to their existing policies.
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© Article 13 2008