Social Advantage Questions

For many companies, achieving social advantage will require fundamentally rethinking their social and business strategy. Executives who want to lead their organizations into this unfamiliar territory might begin by posing the following questions to their management teams:

  • What are the social and ecological costs generated by our current business model?
  • Who bears these costs and what are

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Sustainable Development Questions

  • How do we define sustainable development as it applies to our business and core values?
  • Where do we see sustainable development trends and drivers affecting our business in the future?
  • Are we doing enough to address these trends today, or could we clearly be doing more to gain business opportunities in this way?
  • Do we have all the competencies we need to make progress?
  • Can we learn from

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Linkages to the Local Economy

  • Does the firm/project make use of an especially underutilized asset, i.e., certain segments of the labor force/current office space?
  • Will the firm/project create significant contracting opportunities for local firms, especially small/disadvantaged business?
  • Does the firm/project fill a hole in the Austin economic base, such as key supplier relationships?
  • Does the firm/project have the potential to either seed a new cluster or bring additional firms to Austin?
  • Will the

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Job Creation

  • Will the bulk of the new hires be local or imported?
  • What is the average wage paid? How does it compare to the local or national industry average?
  • What is the median wage paid? How are job categories and wages distributed within the overall structure?
  • What training is provided? Are there opportunities for advancement? Are there funds available for additional education (tuition match, etc.)?
  • Does the firm actively promote diversity

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Overall Economic and Fiscal Impact

  • Is the firm a headquarters operation? Does it represent the “headquarters” of a new product/service?
  • Is the firm growing? Is the firm in a growing industry? How stable is the firm?
  • Does the firm or project significantly enhance the local tax base?
  • Does the firm make a disproportionate demand on infrastructure/environment?

Austin’s Economic Future: The Mayor’s Task Force on the Economy – Subcommittee Findings
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Cultural/Quality of Life/Environmental Considerations

  • Does the firm have a track record of being an active participant in the arts and cultural life of the communities where it operates?
  • Will the firm have a proactive cultural outreach program?
  • Does the firm actively encourage employee volunteer/charitable efforts?
  • Does the firm have a track record of conducting its business in an environmentally responsible way?
  • Does the firm have a track record of supporting environmental initiatives/concerns?

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4 Questions to Ask of Your Project Activity

  1. Economic: Will the project generate prosperity and enhance the affected economies?
  2. Social: Will the project be implemented in a socially responsible manner and benefit the affected communities in a fair and equitable way?
  3. Environmental Quality: Will the project cause long-term damage to the environment?
  4. Use of Natural Resources: Will the project protect and enhance natural capital?

Bringing Corporate Responsibility Down to Earth
by Justin Keeble
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