Evaluating Corporate Social Responsibility Effectiveness

An evaluation of your corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is designed to mitigate key reputational, strategic, disengagement and other unforseen risks by determining if:

  • The relevant stakeholders are protective of the organisation’s reputation because they view the implemented CSR action as being meaningful, caring and delivering expected outcomes.
  • The CSR program has been structured to be responsive to feedback and capable of leveraging learning to minimise unintended consequences.
  • The CSR program is achieving the desired environmental, social and reputational impacts whilst being aligned with the organisational core strategy.
  • The CSR program has boosted employee satisfaction, engagement, retention and loyalty.

Our evaluation methodology is aligned with the internationally recognised Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting guidelines for the content and quality of CSR reports and the performance indicators to be used. This helps build credibility and measurability: ‘Sustainability reports based on the GRI Framework can be used to demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development, to compare organizational performance over time, and to measure organizational performance with respect to laws, norms, standards and voluntary initiatives.’

Steps in the evaluation process include:

  1. Guiding the first meeting of the Evaluation Steering Group to agree evaluation strategy and set review milestones and other key dates.
  2. Review relevant documentation regarding existing and historical CSR program strategy, operational guidelines, public communications and relevant press coverage to assess the shared clarity of CSR intent and the ways in which this intent has been communicated and perceived, especially through the media. 
  3. Stakeholder analysis involving interviews and mini focus groups, involving executive and operational staff, suppliers, customers, community members and regulators to determine the issues that matter, i.e. the topics and indicators that would substantively influence their decisions and assessments regarding CSR program performance. A report is presented at this stage.
  4. 360° interviews with the key stakeholders to collect evidence on their CSR program performance perceptions and any issues arising from the operation and implementation of the CSR program.
  5. The findings are analysed and brought together in a Final Evaluation Report that includes practical risk mitigating recommendations. Findings and their implications are reviewed in a final workshop.

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