Building Connections between Compliance and CSR


Stakeholders ListeningCSR serves to strengthen a company’s capacity to listen to, and communicate with, a range of stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, legislators, and the communities impacted by corporate activities.

These stakeholders, in their dialogues with companies, often push companies to go “beyond compliance” with existing legal and regulatory standards, especially with regard to efforts to manage the social and environmental impacts of their operations. Even as these requests seek voluntary commitments, they are often predictive of trends in the law and future compliance requirements.

In this context, CSR complements traditional corporate compliance systems. Too often, corporate personnel in charge of overseeing a company’s efforts to comply with applicable social and environmental requirements have few opportunities to engage with colleagues with more direct CSR responsibilities.

This is a missed opportunity, as a company solely focused on ensuring compliance with current requirements may fail to recognize emerging trends and to plan for future compliance needs. While CSR is often reflected in a company’s voluntary commitments to stakeholders, a strategic approach to CSR is one that provides significant opportunity to predict mandatory requirements.

Few compliance or CSR personnel are sitting around with time on their hands and, therefore, finding time to foster meaningful cross-functional dialogue about stakeholder expectations, and the policy trends that are reflected in stakeholder demands, is a challenge. It is a challenge that companies should confront, however, especially at the executive level.

Understanding what colleagues are learning about stakeholder concerns and discussing the likelihood that those concerns will lead to external policy shifts, can only improve medium- and long-term strategic planning. It will also improve the company’s capacity to operate consistently with external expectations, and this will help manage both legal and reputational risks.


Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Foley Hoag LLP - Corporate Social Responsibility | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.