Never mind quantifying return on investment, it’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) that’s the hottest, yet most unquantifiable, topic in the teambuilding business right now!
Clients are driving the need for CSR in teambuilding but no one seems to be able to define what exactly that is.
Previously, themes and needs could be defined through clarifying objectives, such as “We want delegates to network”, “Focus on cross-selling” or “Focus on getting ready for the upswing”. But when it comes to CSR as a need, we just get “must have a CSR element!”. When pressed to define what type of CSR this should be, it seems that no total consensus can ever be agreed upon.
So, it’s time for the industry to take the lead and provide clients – the industry and any others who need CSR – with a clear definition of exactly what it is. Perhaps, it can be seen as covering two areas, which are not exclusive but are separate. One is focusing on charity and giving back to the community through participation, such as delegates making a difference by painting a hospital, donating time to repair equipment or organising an “Apprentice’”-style business simulation to raise money for a charity start-up.
The other is the environment, assessing the impact your business has on climate change and taking steps to reduce, reuse, recycle and participate in carbon offset programmes.
Be warned that ranting and raving about CSR can leave you open to accusations of “greenwashing” and this is a reputation we don’t want ownership of. So we are still left with unanswered questions as to what CSR is, what it involves and where we can get some.
The jury is still out but if we, in the events game, are not questioning and integrating CSR into the client experience, then we’ll be in big trouble.
So, as we take the lead, we should get together with a firm policy – but make some quiet progress before shouting our policies from the treetops.