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Corporate social opportunity!: 7 steps to make corporate social responsibility work for your business

Corporate social opportunity!: 7 steps to make corporate social responsibility work for your business

Grayson, David; Hodges, Adrian

Don't be misled by the word social in the title. This is a book about how to improve corporate performance and gain competitive advantage. In Corporate Social Opportunity! Grayson and Hodges challenge perceived wisdom that adherence by business to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a zero-sum game where the impact on companies is added costs and extra regulatory burden.

From their unique vantage point working with leaders of global businesses and of local communities, the authors explain how powerful drivers forcing companies to adopt stringent social, ethical and environmental standards simultaneously create largely untapped opportunities for product innovation, market development and non-traditional business models. The key to exploiting these opportunities lies in building CSR into business strategy, not adding it on to business operations. With examples from 200 companies to illustrate their case, they outline both in theory and practice a seven-step process managers can apply to assess the implications of CSR on their business strategy and identify their own corporate social opportunities.   Business is operating in a whirlwind of interacting global forces: revolutionary developments in communications and technology, significant changes in markets, shifts in demographics, and a transformation of personal values. The fallout from these forces is the underlying reason that corporate social responsibility has come of age. These global forces have led to a number of issues-such as ecology and environment, human rights and diversity, health and well-being, and communities-becoming potential liabilities for companies. Once regarded as 'soft' management issues, they are now increasingly recognised as hard to predict and hard for the business to deal with when they go wrong. Corporate Social Opportunity!, by the authors of the best-selling Everybody's Business moves the argument from the "why" of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the "how" and beyond – to a future where CSR is perceived as an opportunity for business both in terms of reaping the benefits of retaining brand or organisational value and by developing new products and services, serving new markets and adopting new business models. This is not always a story of black and white, of what is right or what is wrong. Often it embraces apparently conflicting demands which require the application of judgement, guided by a clear sense of overall direction and corporate purpose. This book is designed to act as a compass for aiding navigation through such dilemmas and complex decisions. Using examples of current good practice, detailed interviews with leading CEOs and newly created diagnostic planning tools, all framed within a seven-step model for making CSR happen, the book aims to provide a practical guide to help business leaders and their managers understand how to assess the impact of corporate social responsibility factors on their core business strategy and operations and help them identify and prioritise between subsequent options and resulting business opportunities. The book is structured into two parts. Both parts describe the same seven-step model which, if followed, will help managers think through desired changes to business strategies, and necessary corresponding changes to operational practices. In Part 1, the seven steps-triggers; scoping; making the business case; committing to action; resources and integrating operations; engaging stakeholders; and measuring and reporting-are described and illustrative evidence and corresponding data provided. In Part 2, the authors have created a worked example of the diagnostic processes that form the backbone of the seven steps, based on the health and well-being issue of fast food and the growing problem of obesity, particularly among children, along with notes on how a manager might work through the processes with colleagues. The authors are pro-business although not business-as-usual. The book is written first and foremost with the purpose of helping to improve business performance, because business is after all the principal motor for growth and development in the world today. The authors argue that companies adhering to best practice in CSR and taking advantage of possibilities inherent in Corporate Social Opportunity! are good for shareholders as well as customers and employees

Book. English.
Published Sheffield : Greenleaf 2004

Available at Sheppard-Worlock Library.

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Statement of responsibility: David Grayson, Adrian Hodges
ISBN: 1874719837, 1874719845, 9781874719830, 9781874719847
Note: Formelry CIP.
Note: Includes bibliographic references and index.
Physical Description: 390 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Subject: Social responsibility of business.; Strategic planning.


  1. How to use this book
  2. Introduction
  3. Part I: From corporate social responsibility to corporate social opportunity in seven steps
  4. Step 1: Identifying the triggers
  5. Step 2: Scoping what matters
  6. Step 3: Making the business case
  7. Step 4: Committing to action
  8. Step 5: Integration and gathering resources
  9. Step 6: Engaging stakeholders
  10. Step 7: Measuring and reporting
  11. Part II: Putting the seven steps into action: a worked example
  12. Part II: Introduction
  13. Step 1 in action: Identifying the triggers
  14. Step 2 in action: Scoping what matters
  15. Step 3 in action: Making the business case
  16. Step 4 in action: Committing to action
  17. Step 5 in action: Integration and gathering resources
  18. Step 6 in action: Engaging stakeholders
  19. After the Management Retreat
  20. Signposts

Author note

David Grayson ( is a former managing director of Business in the Community and remains a part-time director where he particularly focuses on small businesses and CSR, as chairman of the UK Small Business Consortium. He is the founder Principal of the BLU – the world's first virtual "corporate university" for small business development professionals. He speaks, writes and advises regularly on business, society and entrepreneurialism, for businesses, media and business schools around the world. David sits on the board of the Strategic Rail Authority where he particularly champions disability access. He was the first chairman of the UK's National Disability Council and is now a patron of the disability charity Scope; and an ambassador for the National AIDS Trust. He is also a trustee of the Responsibility in Gambling Trust. He was co-founder/director of Project North East – an innovative British NGO which has now worked in 40 countries.

Adrian Hodges is managing director of the International Business Leaders Forum. He specialises in issues of corporate responsibility as they relate to international business strategy and practice, and has provided counsel to many executives on how to successfully integrate social, ethical and environmental concerns into management processes. He also works with leaders from civil society seeking to forge partnerships with business, and is a regular speaker on the impacts of globalisation and the contribution of business to sustainable development. He has worked in business, local government and non-governmental organisations, and has held the positions of worldwide Head of Corporate Communications for the retailer Body Shop International and Director of Communications and Marketing at Business in the Community. Adrian has lived in Ecuador and the United States and has worked extensively across the Americas. He is currently resident in London.


If you are seeking a quick-fix answer, with clear-cut reasons, methods and arguments you can throw to a CEO to get a green light for your new CSR venture, then this is not the book for you. However, if you're willing to have your eyes opened, your thinking challenged and to discover some amazing opportunities CSR can create, then this is the book for you. In 2001, Grayson and Hodges identified in their book, Everybody's Business seven steps to minimise risks and maximise opportunities, which they continue to use in Corporate Social Opportunity!. Between 2001 and 2004 they observed that even though the "why of CSR" appears to be understood, that there is a big gap between CSR rhetoric and practices. This spurred them onto write this new book, to look more at processes to improve practice, but also to try and refocus thinking from CSR as a risk averter to a source of numerous opportunities. British MP, Nigel Griffiths wrote of Corporate Social Opportunity! that, " cuts through the wooliness." In truth, it goes further than that, as Grayson and Hodges really challenge one to think about how CSR is incorporated into one's business practices, why we believe CSR and its associated values are an important part of our corporate DNA and are we guilty of the value gaps. Grayson and Hodges are globetrotters and when it comes to giving practical examples of CSR, it is what gives them the cutting edge compared to other CSR books. Both authors appreciate the cultural differences of societies and the business environments, which help one to realise that the issues we face are equally as complex and valid in other parts of the globe. When it comes to the analytical process recommendations, it becomes obvious that Grayson and Hodges have thought much about all the aspects of the issues. When it comes to analysis, they don't just analyse few triggers, they suggest triggers which even the more experienced CSR practitioner probably wouldn't necessarily think of. Of all their gems of wisdom, the one that stood out the most was their discussion about stakeholder analysis processes. How often are we guilty of asking people who we know will give the answers we want? How often do we only ask people who won't challenge the questions? And how often do we couch questions just to hear the good, rather than the bad, difficult or ugly answers? In one read there's a lot to take in and consider. However if one's willing to delve into it on a semi-frequent basis and read and consider the various issues, it's likely one will gain a lot from the thoughts that evolve. Chris Wainwright, Business Community Intelligence, September 2005 Chris Wainwright is senior writer for Our Community and Deloitte Australia's new CSR publication, Business Community Intelligence, the Australian newsletter devoted to promoting best-practice CSR among Australia's top 1,000 companies. Read Chris Wainwright's review on Cavill and Co.'s website

Business Community Intelligence (Deloitte Australia), September 2005||

This title and book are not just semantics! This is about a genuine and authentic commitment to environmental and social responsibility and ethical business practices. Grayson and Hodges challenge disbelievers in the business case for CSR and, from their unique vantage point working with leaders of global businesses, explain how powerful drivers forcing companies to adopt stringent social, ethical and environmental standards simultaneously create new opportunities for product innovation, market development and new business models. This new book builds upon the Seven Step Model originally presented Grayson and Hodges' earlier book, Everybody's Business and presents a series of diagnostic tools and processes to help companies move from the 'why' of corporate responsibility to the 'how' and beyond. These diagnostic planning tools, all framed within the seven-step model, provide a practical guide to help business leaders and understand how to assess the impact of CSR on their core business strategy and operations and help them identify and prioritise between subsequent options and resulting business opportunities. Grounding CSR in the values, purpose and strategy of the business and treating it in a far more entrepreneurial fashion, is far more exciting for business and for society. It will make it much more sustainable and have far more impact. That's the new plot!

European Bahai'i Business Forum Newsletter||

At last – a readable book on CSR... Few corporate executives have time to read books except on holiday ... Most books on CSR are either out of date or mind-numbingly tedious. Those in search of a fairly definitive tome could try a new book by David Grayson and Adrian Hodges, two of the UK's leading CSR thinkers ... Its main advantage for the busy reader is that it is well indexed and contains countless case studies of how CSR has worked in practice for companies that have embraced it. It is also very readable.

WeberShandwick Triple Bottom Lines, Autumn Issue, 2004||

Grayson has raised the bar even further by arguing that business needs to see community demands for responsible business behaviour as an opportunity rather than an obligation. (from an interview with David Grayson, co-author)

Australian Financial Review, 23 November 2004||

If we are indeed in something of a "CSR bubble", the sort of thinking illustrated in this book will help ensure that the inevitable collapse doesn't completely derail the field. It will help readers ensure that CSR – or CSO as the title puts it – thinking is built in to their businesses, rather than bolted on. The analysis includes examples from 200 companies. It will be fascinating to see how many companies take the seven-step approach – and how many of those actually profit from it.

SustainAbility Radar, August 2004||

The dynamic behind corporate social responsibility (CSR) is simple: everyone wants to make money and everyone wants to get to heaven. CSR is an attempt to reconcile these conflicting desires. Unlike many others who tackle this subject, Grayson and Hodges don't attempt to construct an argument as to why a company should strive for CSR; they take that as self-evident. But they do challenge business to move beyond seeing CSR as a compliance issue to seeing it rather as an opportunity. They isolate the two reasons most companies mismanage CSR: "The first problem arises from the fact that one of the greatest drivers causing business to adopt CSR is 'fear', with the emphasis on avoiding trouble rather than on looking for opportunities. The second problem is that CSR is too often a 'bolt-on' to business operations rather than 'built-in' to business strategy, resulting in CSR becoming a distraction and a hindrance to business purpose rather than a help." The book is divided into two parts. Part one is "From corporate social responsibility to corporate social opportunity in seven steps". The steps include: identifying the triggers, scoping what matters, making the business case, committing to action, integration and gathering resources, engaging stakeholders and, finally, measuring and reporting. Part two concerns itself with putting these seven steps into action. The great aspect of this book is that the authors have broken the process up clearly and logically – no fluffy feel-goods here. What makes it an easier read and a more pragmatic guide than most is that the authors constantly draw on contemporary and real-life examples to illustrate their theory. This book takes CSR very seriously and should be read by those who share that sentiment.

The Boss, 3 December 2004||

Book provides extensive real-world examples and hypothetical scenarios to help business people transform corporate responsibility from risks to opportunities. This book adds a new acronym to the business vernacular: CSO, or corporate social opportunity, a term that turns on the extant, well-known acronym CSR (corporate social responsibility). While many businesspeople focus on risk management when addressing CSR, the new term refocuses on the business opportunities of corporate responsibility. This seemingly slight semantic shift may prove profound, as it transforms an essentially negative outlook (avoiding risk) into a positive one (seizing opportunity) accompanied by financial incentive to capitalize on opportunity. The strength of this concept could fuel a paradigm shift for corporate responsibility; whether it is powerful enough to inspire widespread adoption of a new acronym remains to be seen. Authors David Grayson, former managing director of Business in the Community (BITC), and Adrian Hodges, managing director of the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), acknowledge that they did not invent the term CSO. While this book represents the most in-depth treatment of the concept, the authors cite an early mention of the idea in the 2002 Procter & Gamble Corporate Sustainability Report. "We can never lose sight of our responsibility to the outside world and our employees," states Paul Polman, president of Procter & Gamble Western Europe, in the report. "But to be really sustainable in the long term, companies need to link business opportunity to sustainable development." "By harnessing their creativity and innovation, companies can find new products, new services, new initiatives, develop new markets and business models that can deliver a better quality of life to all, for now and for the future," he continues. "We need to move beyond Corporate Social Responsibility to embrace our Corporate Social Opportunity." Messrs. Grayson and Hodges intend the book to serve less as a philosophical tract and more as a tool for practitioners. Toward this end, they break up their concept into seven steps: identify triggers, scope what matters, make the business case, commit to action, integrate and gather resources, engage stakeholders, and measure and report. Another practical tactic they employ is dividing the book into two parts. In the first part, they explain each step in depth, illustrating with real-life examples presented in gray boxes sprinkled generously throughout the text. This strategy is perhaps one of the strongest aspects of the book, as it provides a road map through what would otherwise be un-navigated territory for many readers. For example, to illustrate the servicing of new or under-served markets in step two on scoping out opportunities, a gray box describes a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Shell (RD), and Norsk Hydro. "A Shell-branded hydrogen station has opened in Reykjavik, Iceland," the text states. "The station refuels DaimlerChrysler fuel cell buses. It uses Norsk Hydro plant to produce hydrogen from water by electrolysis." The initiative is part of larger project to shift from oil and coal dependence (Iceland currently produces the most greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world) to a hydrogen-energy economy. For its part, Shell intends to open similar hydrogen stations in Washington, DC, Hamburg, Berlin, and Tokyo. According to the authors, what enabled these three companies to collaborate on such an innovative project was their approaching fossil fuel dependence not as a risk to be minimized but rather as an opportunity to be maximized. In the second part, the authors take a different tack to illustrate their seven steps in practice: they invent a fictitious company and describe its journey through the entire seven-step process. This approach provides a completely different kind of roadmap, one that scripts an entire hypothetical scenario instead of piecing together a collage of isolated real-world snapshots.||

There is a tense stand off in our boardrooms between those who view corporate citizenship as essential for a valuable brand and future "license to operate" and those who firmly espouse the view that "the business of business is business". In Corporate Social Opportunity! Grayson and Hodges reconcile the viewpoints to show how CSR can effectively build opportunities and mitigate risks. There are enough real world case studies (with profit figures attached) to persuade even the most sceptical. Better still, there is a simple model and a worked example that will assist in driving social responsibility and value creation right through the heart of your strategy. This is not a book for the spin-doctors in the PR department; it is written for those with the power and drive to ensure that CSR is built in rather than bolted on. The most refreshing aspect of the book is the focus on creating opportunities and exploiting them before the competition have woken up to the fact that they exist. It is a thinly disguised treatise on seizing, and capitalising upon, first-mover advantage but written with respect for the people who make up the targeted markets and joy for the win-win outcomes. The authors cite the need for top down support and bottom up innovation. They provide examples of board involvement to facilitate and drive the process. The book culminates with a worked example of a fictitious organisation that implements the seven steps. This is developed in detail, including sample action plans that highlight the division of activities between board and executives. My favourite part was the fictitious CEO asking his Chairman to review the skills and diversity available on the board and replenish the non-executive ranks with directors that would enrich and add value to the board debate and decision-making. Buy the book to find out how the Chairman responded! This is not a quick read. The 390 pages are chock full of anecdotal evidence, business theory, practical hints and insightful analysis. The few diagrams are simple and clear, adding value to the text. The authors generously share their combined experience in business, consulting, and the government sector. Whilst the book is primarily aimed at the manufacturing and services sectors and will be most easily assimilated by those who deal with consumer markets there are numerous examples from primary industries and the government and not-for-profit sectors. This book throws down a well-worn gauntlet but follows up with sufficient inducements to leave readers with an overwhelming desire to take up the challenge.

Company Director (Australian Company Directors' Journal), February 2005

My impression is that this book should be compulsory reading for all company managers in a world where business is starting to take social responsibility extremely seriously, for many reasons. The steps provided in the book represent an admirable framework for company management to structure their approach to integrating social, ethical and environmental issues into the core of their business. The book is packed full of a wealth of references to real cases of CSR, using these to illustrate the mistakes companies can make and the essential nature of stakeholder inclusivity. As well as being an excellent book for practitioners and managers at all levels within companies, this book is an ideal reference for undergraduate and postgraduate students following courses which include a CSR component. I will certainly be referencing it on my own course on corporate governance and accountability.

New Academy Review, Autumn 2004||

...I would strongly recommend it as an essential text for all those in business working in this area.

The Corporate Citizen Vol. 4 Issue 3 (2004)||

The core message throughout the book is the need for companies to embrace CSR without being impeded by two main hindrances: fear that puts companies in a defensive position, and treating CSR as a "bolt-on" to business rather than a "built-in" strategy. The ultimate goal, therefore, is to create an environment where numerous CSOs are possible.

Corporate Responsibility Management 1.1 (August/September 2004)||

... proposes a practical seven-step process to help business leaders ... instead of "bolt on", CSR can become a valuable "built in".

Industry and Environment, AprilÔÇôSeptember 2004

Corporate Social Opportunity! clearly shows how to combine the natural creativity and innovation of entrepreneurial businesses with a commitment to Corporate Responsibility.


Corporate social responsibility is not a "bolt-on" to be added once business strategy and planning has been finalised; it needs to be "built in" to strategy decisions and integrated into the planning process. That's how risks are effectively managed and business opportunities identified. Corporate Social Opportunity! explains how business can best get value from this process.


The Corporate Social Opportunity! model firmly links CSR to the theory and practice of business strategy and organisational purpose, and is as such indispensable reading for the MBA class and the corporate boardroom.


Westpac is constantly approached about CSR books. Corporate Social Opportunity! is a really practical and positive book, written from a business perspective – and I warmly welcome it. Indeed, I would recommend it to other businesses.