1st Edition

Buried Treasure Discovering and Implementing the Value of Corporate Social Responsibility

By Caleb Wall Copyright 2008

    With business under unprecedented pressure from a range of stakeholders to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR), those working in dirty industries, developing countries and the extractive sector are finding themselves exposed to great strategic risks. Many of these companies are endeavouring to practise CSR and sustainability, but lack the knowledge to do so convincingly. Much of what has been published to date tells companies they must "do" CSR, without explaining how best to implement CSR-related policies and why this is very much in the corporate interest. Buried Treasure sets out in a series of case studies from different industries around the world a clear demonstration of how it is possible to create "shared value" for companies, communities and other stakeholders by putting CSR at the core of the business model.

    In implementing CSR, companies need to look beyond philanthropy, delving deeper to find the "buried treasure" of shared value creation. This is much more than finding the simple "win–win" solutions. It is about companies engaging seriously in the challenges they face in their operations and finding competitive advantage from working with stakeholders to solve these common problems. This is not easy - but where companies have done it well they have found new corporate opportunities and enhanced brand value.

    Buried Treasure presents a series of steps, each accompanied by an in-depth case study, to demonstrate how different companies have managed to uncover the value of CSR. They include: Anglo-American's "Zimele" programme of enterprise development in its coal and platinum mining areas in South Africa; Montana Exploradora, showing how community co-monitoring of the environment has helped build trust for a gold mine in Guatemala; Gildan, a leading sportswear manufacturer, demonstrating how garment manufacture in Honduras created meaningful local opportunities; Scandic Hotels, which has used environmental stewardship and "omtanke" to create comparative advantage in a competitive industry; and Turner Broadcasting, using corporate core competences in partnership with an NGO to leverage staff skills, enhancing public perception and staff retention.

    This short and accessible book will be an invaluable aid to managers and students searching for clear proof of the advantages of corporate social responsibility for business and its many stakeholders and for guidance in how to action best-practice policies.

    Foreword Ola Ullsten, Chairman of the World Council for Corporate Governance, Former Prime Minister of Sweden

    1. The opportunity of corporate responsibility

    2. Leverage your core competences

    3. Collaborate based on common values

    4. Operate locally – impact locally

    5. Evolution to revolution

    6. Governments and the changing business climate

    7. Non-governmental organisations

    8. Creating shared value: the next steps Acronyms and abbreviations Endnotes References Index


    Wall, Caleb

    This book speaks directly to the business mind – and refreshingly so. It is all about actions that benefit the business firm. It places the profit function front and center as the proper role and duty of business practitioners. Its central message is not clouded by wispy philosophizing or sentimental societal pleadings.

     Government and NGO functionaries are put in their place as proper aids to, rather than enemies of, corporations that are adjusting with difficulty to the competitive pressures of globalization. Corporate strategy, properly implemented, should leave a company as well off financially, or no worse off, than its competitors, stakeholders, and the general public. Most remarkably of all, this recipe of economic, shareholder, corporate well-being is attributable entirely to – yes, believe it or not – Corporate Social Responsibility!

    CSR, in this author's view, is little more than the result of hard-headed managerial thinking about what is in the best interest of the corporation. At every point, [the author] speaks to business practitioners in language easily and directly translatable into the practicalities and operational demands of corporate/workplace culture. Pragmatic pathways are required if firm-threatening problems loom ahead. Long-term survival is at stake. Don't just sit there, do something – and do it now, before it's too late. Nothing very sentimental or philosophical about all this. Just plain practical problem solving.

    All in all, Buried Treasure is a handy, clearly written, practical guide for improving and securing any company's CSR activities. Have a look. Give it a try. Read the full review - William C. Frederick, November 2008