Positive Impacts Through Corporate Responsibility
Carole Kerrey, Lead Assessor at Verego
With increasing pressures to ensure responsible performance and positive impacts, more organizations are going beyond regulatory compliance and turning to certifications as a way to validate their policies and programs. While all third-party assurance options evaluate the implementation of existing structured approaches, there is an incredibly diverse range of options in terms of assessment type and issues addressed. So, how can organizations best satisfy stakeholder demands for transparency while ensuring the implementation of their corporate level approaches at the site level?
One of the first items to consider is the topic of certification. The global range of issues continues to expand from social topics like modern slavery and data security to environmental issues like carbon and circular economy. Many third parties specialize in a particular subject, while other certification standards take a more holistic approach. The Verego SRS Standard addresses 56 social and environmental topics categorized into five primary areas: leadership, ethics, people, community, and the environment. As of 2018 Sutherland, Sutherland has demonstrated responsible structure approaches and achieved Certification in all areas of Verego SRS Standard.
The next consideration relates to the method of certification approach, which can vary by the validation strategy and the scope of certification awards. Some certification options are specific to a given product or processes. However, many B2B organizations may find that a site-specific or enterprise-wide is more appropriate to their industry. Methodology for the assessments can include documentation reviews, surveys, interviews, and on-site audits. Verego’s three-month long certification assessment process utilizes an off-site audit triangulation approach to validate CR management systems. This cost-effective methodology ensures the verification of implemented CR policies and practices through employee surveys and site management interviews to identify implementation gaps and non-compliance. Moreover, an organization can avoid roughly 70% on certification costs compared to acquiring multiple CR certifications to cover the range of topics address by the Verego SRS Standard and avoiding secondary audits.1
This additional validation can provide third-party assurance to the social responsibility performance of an organization, which can produce intangible benefits by creating competitive advantage, client satisfaction, customer loyalty and trust. With the breadth of its standard, Verego SRS Certification ensures the implementation of social responsibility and sustainability management systems to multiple stakeholder groups, including employees and customers. Social responsibility certification has been found to have positive impacts on brand value, even winning organizations new contracts and solidifying existing contracts with improved competitive advantage.2
Over the last several years, Sutherland has been able to achieve Verego SRS Certification at the assessed sites to transparently validate their implementation of responsible business practices. These approaches have been identified to align with industry leading best practices and global standards for performance in the workplace and external to the organization’s operations. While Sutherland has demonstrated continuous execution of responsible performance, it has also improved upon its assessment results in multiple areas of the Verego SRS Standard. Sutherland places itself as an industry thought leader with validated approaches for continuous improvement across the spectrum of social and environmental issues.