Managing Risk: Integrating CSR and Compliance Functions Effectively

Corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) is an important component of overall enterprise risk management for many companies. That said, too often, corporate implementation of CSR commitments is reliant upon diverse functions and systems that may not be all that well coordinated with one another and may utilize a range of different oversight and accountability mechanisms.

Too often, assurance of corporate adherence to voluntary standards may not be well documented, while corporate efforts to operate consistently with mandatory social and environmental standards may be viewed with a narrow compliance mindset that fails to address the concerns of key stakeholders.

Gwen Jaramillo and I recently wrote an article for Financier Worldwide magazine that looks at the ways in which companies are, and should, integrate the efforts of their CSR and compliance functions. As we note in the article,

Corporate CSR and compliance functions have the potential to be mutually reinforcing. Approaching CSR and compliance in an integrated fashion may significantly enhance corporate capacity to be responsive to stakeholder expectations and to comply with new and emerging hard law requirements. Continuing to approach CSR commitments in a piecemeal, and under-resourced, fashion will leave a company vulnerable to costly missteps and lost opportunities for comprehensive risk management built upon an effective and integrated compliance programme.

A full copy of the article can be found here.

In working with clients, we have found a range of opportunities for operational efficiencies and cross-functional collaboration as companies seek to address new and emerging legal and regulatory requirements on topics ranging from human trafficking to conflict minerals. Wheels don’t always need to be rebuilt and companies can leverage the strengths of existing compliance programs while identifying and addressing gaps and blindspots. Ultimately, such efforts serve to strengthen risk management efforts to the benefit of both a company and its stakeholders.

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