Laura Gitman, Vice President, BSR
More than eight years ago, I joined BSR to advise companies on sustainable business strategies and collaborations for change. At that time, the BSR membership model seemed to me like a nice to have, not a need to have—a structural relic of BSR’s initial years rather than a force for change itself. Suffice it to say that these initial misperceptions were quickly proven false.
Today, I am proud to oversee BSR’s global membership strategy. For more than 20 years, membership has been core to BSR’s mission to build a just and sustainable world, and that remains especially true today. We are very proud to have more than 250 member companies representing a wide range of industries and geographies. Through our membership, we’re able to share our expertise, promote learning, and foster collaboration among the world’s largest and most influential companies.
BSR membership means that sustainability professionals at member companies can call me or any member of our team to ask about a specific stakeholder issue or to prepare themselves before presenting to their senior management. Membership means that when we complete an interesting project with one company, the lessons can be magnified across more than 250 companies. And membership means that we have longstanding relationships with the companies we work with, so that even when we’re not collaborating on a particular project, we understand their needs and challenges. When we hear that two or three companies in our network are struggling with the same issue, we can connect them—sometimes resulting in a reassuring or helpful conversation, and other times leading to a more formal and impactful collaboration.
Companies have engaged with BSR in many ways over the years, from our advisory services projects and collaborative initiatives to our research, events, and Conference. To me, it always comes back to the value and impact of membership, and I often remind the companies I work with to test me—and to use the full benefits and network that being a member at BSR provides.
I am therefore delighted to announce that we have enhanced the BSR member benefits package in several exciting ways. Our new approach to membership focuses on three core elements:
- Expertise and Insights: Access to BSR expertise to improve company performance
- Collaborative Solutions: Collaborative initiatives to generate sustainability solutions
- Networking: Networking Opportunities with peers and stakeholders
We have refined our current member benefits based on input and ideas from existing members so that membership can continue to evolve and allow us to achieve our mission for the next 20 years.
For example, members have told us that they enjoy opportunities to participate in initiatives such as Future of Fuels, HERproject, and the Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Working Group, and that they’d like even more opportunities to collaborate across sectors to drive change on some of the world’s most pressing and systemic sustainability challenges. We’ve therefore made collaboration a more central component of our membership model.
Additionally, members wanted more opportunities to network with BSR and each other in smaller settings, so we’ve planned a series of regional workshops and roundtable discussions, as well as our inaugural BSR Spring Forum on climate and business, in Paris June 11-12.
I have always been energized and inspired when thinking about the scale of impact we can achieve when BSR members collaborate, and I’m confident that this new membership platform will enable us to do even more together.
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