02.Building community capacity
Public demand for sustainable operations is growing rapidly, with Triple Bottom Line reporting being just one significant response to this demand.
The motivation for increasing corporate social responsibility and reporting is varied. While leading edge companies are genuinely moving in this direction, for some it remains primarily a goodwill exercise or a way of gaining a relatively short-term market advantage or improved public perceptions of their operations. This may, in the longer term, disadvantage those who are really committed to making a difference environmentally and socially.
The NSW Premier’s forum in October 2001 identified that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is underpinned by three key components – doing business responsibly, taking leadership in the community interest, and Triple Bottom Line reporting and accountability.
At the global scale, community-based non-government organisations are having significant input to major sustainability processes. However, in Australia the community sector has to date had only limited involvement in the development of corporate sustainability.
As the Industry and Service System Change Working Group in the Premier’s Community Builders program identifies, a key issue is “to support and improve NGOs’ capacity to influence and manage change”. The Total Environment Centre (TEC) sought funding from the Premier’s Department to further its earlier work enhancing community sector ability to engage with and influence this corporate change process.
The report below presents the outcomes of a Community Builders’ project in which the Total Environment Centre (assisted by consultants Community Solutions) worked with the Australian Consumers’ Association, the NSW Labor Council and the NSW Council of Social Service, to build effective working relationships between community sector participants, interested corporate sector representatives and others. Together the project partners developed a “toolkit” designed to enhance the ability of community sector organisations and individuals, to better influence corporate sector progress towards real ecologically and socially sustainable development.
Links to ACA's partner websites:
Total Environment Centre
NSW Labor Council
NSW Council of Social Service
Read the full report in PDF — Building Community Capacity: Assessing Corporate Sustainability
Here's also a useful collation of various ways of assessing sustainability in PDF: Collated summary of Principles of Sustainability
You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these reports. This is free software.