The Canadian Construction Association is looking to take a more active role in educating its members on the growing issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The shift is the result of a report prepared by a task force struck by the association's business and market development committee.
"CSR is a new focus for CCA and the task force's work is unprecedented," said task force leader Stephen Coote of Group 92 Mechanical Inc.
The task force was created in March 2014, based on the determination that CSR is an important issue for the non-residential construction industry.
It was asked to investigate whether the CCA has a role to play in the area of CSR and what that role should be.
The final report determined that CCA does have a role to play and there are a multitude of services that it could provide in the area of CSR.
The task force asked that they be directed to identify specific action items that the CCA should undertake at the next committee meeting.
The task force was headed up by Coote with help from Murray Aitken (Morven Construction), Graeme Clark (G.A.C. Consulting), Helen Goodland (Brantwood Consulting), Dave Graham (Robertson Bright Inc.), Manley McLachlan (British Columbia Construction Association) and Francis Roy (Gyptech Acoustique Inc.).
According to Coote, Last June in Victoria B.C. during the CCA Industry Summit, a cross-section of the CCA membership was polled on what they feel are the most important challenges facing the construction industry.
Amongst the seven themes that emerged from the session, business practices, business succession, globalization, government, infrastructure, labour and technology were ranked as some of the most important concerns facing the CCA membership.
The report showed that while it is relatively straightforward to make a business case for CSR in each of the seven themes, task force members found specifics links within the themes that speak to CSR as an essential tool to support the construction industry's relationship with government, infrastructure and labour.
"Given the results of the summit, we surmised the CSR emerged as an important theme," Coote said.
"In completing our review, we are confident that CSR not only fits within the context of the strategic plan, it supports it," Coot said.
"CSR would serve as an important backdrop in providing value to CCA members."
Previously, the CCA's closest resources of relevance were a CCA Policy Statement and the CCA Code of Ethics, both of which focus on sustainable development as it affects the environment.
Currently, the CCA does not have a policy or program in the area of corporate social responsibility.
According to feedback received during and in response to CSR sessions at CCA events, there is a knowledge vacuum, CCA members would benefit from greater education on what CSR means and members would welcome the development of resources on CSR from the association.