The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has endorsed its draft Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guide. At the CCA spring board meeting in St. John's, N.L. members praised the guide as a great benefit to members of all sizes.
"If you have had a chance to go through the report, it is for all employers, small, medium and large," said Joe Wrobel, of JPW Road and Bridge Inc. "It certainly explains CSR and allows a company to assess its practices. This is a tangible benefit for companies of all levels."
Stephen Coote, president of Group 92 Mechanical Inc., who worked on the task force that crafted the guide, said he was impressed with the process.
"I was really fortunate enough to work with a great task force," said Coote. "These individuals were committed at every meeting and on every call. We are all very proud of the guide."
The process started in 2014 when the task force was created by the CCA's Business and Market Development Committee, based on the determination that CSR is an important issue for the non-residential construction industry.
"CSR is a new focus for CCA and the task force's work is unprecedented," Coote previously told the Journal of Commerce in 2015.
The committee 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 was headed up by Coote with help from Murray Aitken of Morven Construction, Graeme Clark from G.A.C. Consulting, Helen Goodland of Brantwood Consulting, Dave Graham from Smith and Long Limited, Manley McLachlan of the British Columbia Construction Association and Francis Roy from Gyptech Acoustique Inc.
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.
The task force has been working with project consultant Coro Strandberg to oversee development of the guide, which has been written to reflect the views of the construction industry. To help shape the guide, interviews were conducted in October and November 2016, with three categories of stakeholders: Industry influencers (including members of the CCA Executive Committee), CSR practitioners (including member companies of CCA) and external stakeholders.
Interviewees were asked questions such as, what they think is the definition of CSR, the main trends driving CSR in the construction industry and the main components of the business case for CSR. Based on the information gathered in the interviews, an annotated table of contents was produced and subsequently a draft was developed. The draft was presented to the CCA Business and Market Development Committee in March for discussion.
According to the guide, CSR is defined as a company's voluntary initiatives and actions to improve its social and environmental performance and relations with stakeholders. It is voluntary because you can voluntarily choose which practices are most important to you to pursue, and because if it is mandatory it is not considered CSR.
"CSR has a broad scope. It includes how companies are run and managed, their ethics, culture and operations, their relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, construction and other businesses, communities, industry associations, and governments, along with their construction practices and projects," reads the guide. "CSR involves going above and beyond what is legally required to contribute positively to the environment, the workforce and communities."