In 1995 I became one of the founders and the first President of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility. I resigned from the Board after two years because I was unsuccessful in persuading the other directors to take a different approach to membership from the traditional business association model.
Some years later another founding member, Adine Mees, took over the role of Executive Director and we began exploring possibilities for the future of the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility. This included the idea of creating CSR Canada, – the Centre for Social Responsibility in Canada hosted by the Canadian business community.
I presented the idea to the Board of Directors for Canadian Business for Social Responsibility in July 2002 as an opportunity for Canadian businesses to show Canada cares and demonstrate socially responsible leadership to the world by creating a Centre for Social Responsibility . I thought Canadian Business for Social Responsibility could create and evolve the Centre to become the global centre for people and enterprises demonstrating social responsibility and social contribution.
We introduced CSR Canada with a full page colour ad in “The Ethical Corporation” a British magazine widely read by the European corporate social responsibility community. The communication was intended to position Canadian business with how Canada is known. Canada Cares.
Since then my idea of social responsibility has evolved to simply do no harm and make a contribution. Caring demonstrated. The Centre for Social Responsibility could create community around exploring how we bring the idea of social responsibility and socially responsible enterprise into our culture, into our practice, and into how we create possibilities for our future.
The Centre for Social Responsibility can be created through the collaboration of community enterprises that are involved in the common interest of creating more socially responsible behavior. The idea and the model could be developed with the participation of community enterprises based in Vancouver and the enterprise could be created by engaging socially responsible companies and interested community enterprises across Canada.
Canadians and Canadian enterprise can demonstrate that Canada Cares by creating a model and providing socially responsible leadership to the world
I propose that we create a group of thinkers and potential partners with an interest in creating and participating in CSR Canada. We can think about it as an informal board of custodians of the idea and of the interests served by the idea. In this case the “board” is a brain trust, governance of a different kind, a team that figures out how to make it happen so it serves everyone’s interests well.
CSR Canada becomes the child of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility and CBSR rears the idea to adulthood. The idea has already been born, complete with its positioning line, in the international press.
Creating the Story
In the world of marketing our brand is how we are seen and known and what we are known for contributing in the marketplace. We are known by what we say and do, by how we say and do things, and by how and what we contribute. Our brand, how we are seen and known, is our identity. This is how the world comes to see us and know our enterprise, our product, our contribution. Our brand contributes to creating our enterprise.