How to use the Corporate Responsibility Pyramids

The information in the pyramids is useful for staff in various roles: corporate responsibility practitioners, communications staff, marketing, human resources, procurement and executive staff.

All businesses should be implementing the most basic practices - the "Dead-Set Winners" - in each of the eight Pyramids: reducing energy, paper and water consumption; not discriminating against employees or potential employees; supporting the local community; enforcing strict health and safety standards; etc.

As you develop and refine your corporate responsibility programs and practice, you can begin to work your way up through the "Good Practice" ideas - those which require moderate investment - and on to the "Cutting Edge" ideas. Assess which of the eight pillars best align with your company's values and work to embed and consolidate your efforts in one or two of those areas before moving on to the others.

Businesses aiming for an integrated and defendable corporate responsibility strategy should be working across all eight focus areas - environment, human rights, community, workforce, investment, governance, systemic disadvantage and social marketing - simultaneously. It is unlikely that you will reach to the top in all areas at once. Once you are working across the middle sections of the pyramids, assess which of the eight pillars best align with your company's values and work to embed and consolidate your efforts in one or two of those areas before moving on to the others.

The "cutting edge" ideas are those that may be costly and more difficult to implement but will provide higher returns to the community, and to your company as well.

In fact, there are many reasons why the things you do to make the community better and stronger can provide benefits to your company:

  • Many consumers (one UK study suggests the figure is as high as 61%) will choose a product or service on the basis of a company's responsible reputation;
  • Many consumers (as many as 55% in the UK) will avoid a product or service on the basis of a company's reputation (with boycotts by ethically motivated consumers estimating to cost big brands $6.4 billion a year);
  • Business volunteering programs can help reduce sick days;
  • Companies with strong corporate responsibility programs can boast better networks and greater knowledge of community needs (and therefore greater knowledge of how they can develop products and services to match those needs, meaning new business opportunities);
  • They report greater staff satisfaction, retention and productivity.

environmental sustainability pyramid human rights pyramid community engagement pyramid workforce pyramid socially responsible investment pyramid good governance pyramid addressing systemic disavantage social marketing help pyramid