Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability are no longer business buzzwords in Canada.
They are fundamental parts of what it means to do business like a Canadian, according to the nonprofit Canadian Business for Social Responsibility. Technology is a fundamental part of every business and can be used to advance any company’s CSR initiatives.
Investors and employees are taking notice of CSR, with employees preferring to work for socially responsible companies and investors being more likely to invest in businesses that have sustainability strategies. 72% of North Americans surveyed by Interac Corp. and the Upside Foundation reported that they felt it was important that a potential employer had strong sustainability practices. In its Corporate Social Responsibility Implementation Guide for Canadian Business, the Government of Canada lists technology development & research and performance measurement/reporting as key aspects of CSR. Technology use and data gathering are two of the most important tools that corporate sustainability departments can use, given that much of their work involves reporting.
Digitization is Improving Sustainability in Canada’s Agricultural Sector
A practical example of technology that improves sustainability is the increasing use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Canada’s agricultural sector. Solutions that are currently in-market allow farmers to see important analytics about equipment and other aspects of their operations. This leads to better decisions that improve both profitability and sustainability.
How Each Company Can Find the Tools it Needs to Drive Change
Those responsible for a company’s social accountability cannot work in a silo. They need to ask each department what they think it needs to reduce its carbon footprint. In some cases, these may be company-wide needs such as automation to turn temperatures down and lights off in rooms when nobody is there.
For the sales department, the corporate social responsibility department may have a hand in sourcing videoconferencing software and changing processes so that flights are only taken for crucial meetings rather than just dealing with semi-interested leads.
While CSR initiatives have sustainability at their core, they drive efficiencies within each organization too.
Saving on air travel, going paperless, encouraging employees to work remotely to save on utilities costs – these are all benefits that those responsible for a company’s sustainability initiatives can drive with the right technology deployments.
How Digital Tools Can Improve Sustainability In A Corporate Legal Department
Corporate legal departments are increasingly becoming more involved in company environmental and social responsibility initiatives, usually due to the regulatory requirements that CSR entails. Green initiatives are a key part of these initiatives and going paperless is where the legal department can really make a difference.
In the legal world, there are still many opportunities to be more sustainable – and efficient – by going paperless. While digitizing files is hardly a new concept, there are still many firms and legal departments within them that use paper. In a world with easy access to secure cloud technology, this is really no longer necessary. It may sound like a small thing, but the waste productivity KPI used frequently in sustainability reporting shows a clear win for companies with good CSR practices. This KPI is measured by taking the gross revenues generated by a business and dividing it by metric tonnes of waste generated. In 2019, Canada’s best corporate citizens had a combined waste productivity KPI of $9,989,846 versus the number for Canada’s largest companies which were not on the list: $3,453,851.
Even can see the benefits of storing important contracts and other important files in the cloud. These benefits include being able to see who accessed files, who worked on them and when, and being able to send files to stakeholders instantly when needed. Having them available in an easily searchable digital archive is also a massive benefit that could shave hours from an employee’s workday.