GUEST BLOG POST: Mark Swartz is a the National Career Advisor on Workopolis.com's homepage. His current focus is 'Sustainable Employment', helping people profit their career, employer and society. You can find out more about Mark on Linkedin.
The Opportunities Are Increasing
The idea of employment being sustainable has a lot of appeal in this day and age of job insecurity. Now there’s a whole new meaning to the term. "Sustainability" these days means your job involves green, environmental initiatives, or else falls under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
It’s a great new way for you to increase your marketability. You can differentiate yourself as a capable employee who can also get profit-enhancing CSR done. But don’t just take it from me.
Being a Strategic CSR Employee
Adding his viewpoints is Dr. Andrew Crane, George R. Gardiner Professor of Business Ethics and Director, Business & Sustainability Program at the Schulich School of Business, located at York University. He says that this the right time for people to clarify their role as an employee involved in CSR initiatives: "You are not merely the company's conscience or donations person. You are uniquely prepared to deal with complexity and multi-stakeholder relationships on a strategic basis."
Andrew adds that those who can create new socially responsible products and services (e.g. fair trade coffee, green mortgages), or who can reshape processes to enhance the triple bottom line (e.g. using fewer scarce resources, leaving less of a carbon footprint, making governance more effective), will be in demand. He also notes that "Consumers will purchase responsibly - assuming that price, quality and branding are equal to the alternatives. Thus we need business-savvy employees who can make or promote exciting products and services that have CSR built-in and the potentially daunting tradeoffs removed."
Jobs for Responsible Business Employees
As for where the jobs might be, Andrew says that you needn't focus your search exclusively on employers in the environmental or not-for-profit sectors. "When you look at who is winning awards for being socially responsible, it includes companies such as Walmart, IBM, Loblaws, Vancouver City Savings and Home Depot; places you may not have thought to look first." Each of the companies cited above is on the "Best 50 Corporate Citizens" list for 2008 or 2009, prepared by Corporate Knights (the Canadian magazine for responsible business).
How to find an employer that might value your CSR credentials? Well, it makes sense to look at that Best 50 list above and also review the Canadian Business for Social Responsibiltiy (CBSR) membership roster, for starters. To that you can add member organizations of the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy, and the top performers on the Jantzi Social Index.
Mark Swartz, CareerActivist.com
Speaker, Author, Sustainable Career Specialist
Mark has built a reputation as Canada’s Career Activist. His insights are available to millions yearly as the National Career Advisor on Workopolis.com’s homepage. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark’s current focus is "Sustainable Employment," helping people profit their career, employer and society. Schulich MBA (1985), M.Ed. OISE (2000).
Published with permission. Copyright Mark Swartz 2009.