What Does a Corporate Responsibility Manager Do?

In a conversation with Gregory Unruh, CSR expert Alberto Andreu Pinillos highlights three elements of a corporate responsibility manager’s job.

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I recently caught up with Alberto Andreu Pinillos, global head of Organizational Development & Corporate Culture at the Spanish telecom giant Telefónica, a position he took in 2014. For 14 years prior, he was Telefónica’s director of Reputation and Corporate Responsibility and a pioneer in the business sustainability movement. He’s been called the “Dean of Spanish CSR” by the Diario Responsable.

I wanted to know how Alberto saw the CSR director’s role — a question he says he gets often from his kids. “Ever since I started with this whole corporate responsibility thing,” says Alberto, “a lot of people have asked me: What do you do? What’s your job actually about?” His experience in responding to these questions allows Alberto to distill the job into three principal activities and responsibilities: foresight, nurturing, and evangelism.

1. Foresight

The director’s responsibility here is to identify ahead of time the social and environmental risks or opportunities that may not be relevant in the near term, but will be so in the medium to long term — and then place them in front of the appropriate organizational decision makers. The CSR manager, by engaging with key stakeholders in government, industry, civil society and international organizations, captures valuable information about emerging social and environmental issues.

By placing those issues into context and relating them to the business, CSR directors make them accessible to the company’s relevant decision makers. “For example, 10 years ago very few executives were aware of the social and environmental issues involved in the supply chain,” notes Alberto. “But pioneering CSR directors identified this as an emerging issue and helped prepare their procurement and supply chain executives for the coming shifts.”

Alberto points to the Bangladesh textile factory collapse in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 workers and tripped up brand names like Benetton and Mango that were outsourcing to the contractors. Likewise, diversity has long been on the radar of CSR professionals and has recently been incorporated into the legal framework of national laws and European directives. Effective CSR directors have helped guide their human resources executives in addressing these concerns in advance of regulations.

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Topics

Leading Sustainable Organizations

Corporate adoption of sustainable business practices is essential to a strong market environment and an enduring society. What does it mean to become a sustainable business and what steps must leaders take to integrate sustainability into their organization?
See All Articles in This Section

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Comments (2)
Arnold Bao
The CSR manager actually acts as a nod in between the networks of the internal and external stakeholders of the enterprise.
Jack Haffey
Great article on CSR. And, great topic for attention - Sustainability, a big idea.

Please consider thinking about Sustainability and also CSR as specific (important) planks in a larger platform. The larger platform I suggest is that of pursuit of long term corporate (organizational) excellence.

At www.jackhaffey.blogspot.com you can find the June 24, 2015 blog post that explains the formula I offer for the 21st century essential dominant mindset - the mindset that will enable corporations (all organizations) to identify, get to and remain on their long term maximum value creation trajectory. CSR, Sustainability and the other specific means toward this end all fit in this actionable mindset - and this mindset replaces the old, tired and sub-optimizing, dysfunctional "profit, the more the better" mindset of the last 45 + years. Leadership and cultural adjustments are needed, and happiness, with ubiquitous virtues and unalienable rights - and a robust understanding of fiduciary obligations - are all part of this mindset's elegance. It allows the best of human nature to flourish in the commercial and societal marketplaces.