BSR’s executive workshops help companies share best practices, work together to solve problems, and build camaraderie across global sustainability teams.
Staff at global companies’ local offices are working on the front lines to produce and deliver products and services, manage employees, and interact with external stakeholders. The intensity and diversity of their work can be overwhelming. Given the demands of their daily jobs, there is not often time to reflect on, share, and learn from other offices that are implementing the same corporate standards.
To help global companies’ sustainability teams—including community and government relations, health and safety, environment, and security—share knowledge, identify and implement best practices, and solve common challenges, BSR developed an executive workshop focused on improving the impact of sustainability practitioners.
BSR has facilitated biannual global executive sustainability workshops for a variety of companies, and we work with each team to prepare the workshop agenda, pre-reading and workshop materials, and exercises.
With one mining company, BSR facilitated a two-and-a-half-day workshop with more than 50 global participants, including corporate and local office managers, the executive team, and the board of directors. The workshop included presentations by 24 speakers from eight countries. During the workshop, participants prepared tools such as a set of best practices for stakeholder engagement, a “clinic” to solve problems related to the design and implementation of culturally appropriate grievance mechanisms, a shared vision describing what it means to close a mine in a responsible manner, and key performance indicators to measure the impact of the company’s various community investments.
After the workshop, BSR wrote a summary report that captured next steps for all participants, as well as recommendations for future workshops and ongoing internal collaboration.
While global sustainability workshops require a significant investment of time and money, they provide many returns. As a result of the workshops BSR has led, the companies were able to enhance their awareness of global sustainability practices, challenges, and opportunities; identify key performance indicators and additional tools to support local implementation of corporate standards; increase dialogue between in-country managers and the executive team and board; and contribute to a more collaborative corporate culture.
These workshops have the potential to benefit workers and communities as well, as companies are able to engage more deeply across the organization on sustainability issues and work to improve their global sustainability practices and decision-making.
- Global workshops give participants opportunities to learn best practices, build and expand relationships and networks of experts within the company, align on priorities, and work together to solve problems.
- We have found that when the workshops are more participatory—with more people and offices presenting information—they can boost the feeling of inclusion and collaboration. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of a clear, streamlined workshop.
- Other aspects of inclusion to consider include language and translation needs, as well as the development of culturally appropriate content, which can be enhanced, for instance, if employees from indigenous groups review the materials in advance.
- Content is extremely important, but there is also value in devoting time for team-building and the development of new relationships that will support the ongoing sharing of information.