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McDonald’s VP: Top 10 CSR Strategy Tips

Bob Langert, Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility at McDonald’s has posted his “Top Ten Lessons Learned on CSR Strategy, Partnerships, and Policy Development” on his blog. Here’s an abbreviated version:

  1. Don’t stereotype NGOs. Most are well-intentioned and share interests with the corporate sector.
  2. Pick your partners carefully. McDonald’s looks for NGOs that exhibit high levels of independence, scientific expertise, and both experience and demonstrated faith in market-based solutions.
  3. Measure your performance and progress. It’s not about rhetoric and storytelling. Providing tangible proof of progress is essential.
  4. Shifting purchases according to CSR factors sends a strong market signal.
  5. Maintain trust and the need to verify. Policies and programs are needed, but also have credible third-party assurance.
  6. Take advantage of the rising tide of consumer interest in CSR issues. McDonald’s research indicates that consumers expect a high level of performance from food companies on social and environmental issues. Yet they perceive a low level of performance.
  7. Control the clock and play offense. The solutions developed when your mindset is strategic and proactive are usually far better than those developed as a reaction to events.
  8. Collaboration is a must. Fish and other food issues are systemtic in nature, so the solutions require involvement by a broad range of stakeholders.
  9. Supply chain issues are important to brand reputation. Stakeholders don’t differentiate between a McDonald’s restaurant and the multiple suppliers and steps that make up the McDonald’s supply chain.
  10. Langert’s formula for success: A motivated, informed purchaser + an engaged, proactive set of suppliers + a bona fide, third-party expert/NGO + enough time to learn, understand the science, and test = practice solutions for a better world.

You can find videos of Langert (as well as others) speaking about CSR at the recent IntraFish Summit here.

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