I attended a very interesting presentation today called the “Evolution of Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility (CSR)” at KPMG’s Head Office.

The presentation was conducted by Dr Wayne Visser, an international expert on the subject. I found it very thought provoking and it showed that the field is evolving and not evolving. Evolving in that there are a shift in direction, and not evolving in that there is perhaps too much emphasis in many companies on mere compliance with codes and ethics.

As I was sitting there listening to him, I was struck by the notion that this is an ideal opportunity and time for organisations to become leaders and not just be followers. Innovators who set the tone and can show the rest of the world that their reputations are intact and sustainable.

Innovators who implement lasting structural and social changes in the dimensions in which they operate.

He also showed us an outline of the subjects that is covered in the book “THE A TO Z OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY”. With almost 400 definitions and terms and contributions from over a hundred of the world’s leading thinkers, opinion formers, academics and business people, this book looks like it will become one of the seminal works on the subject. The book is published by Wiley with the ISBN number: 978-0-470-05710-0.

This book will need to be on every Reputation Manager, Stakeholder practitioner and Sustainability, Health, Safety & Environment manager’s bookshelf and I will be sure that you will be referring to it time and time again.

From a Communications point of view, it is absolutely vital to ensure that you and your target audience are on the same wavelength, when it comes to terms and definitions. Definitions sets boundaries, removes obstacles and ensures ”sharing of meaning”’.

If we can think alike about issues such as sustainability, it will go a long way to ensuring lasting changes that will impact on global warming and environmental issues.