CSR…Mere Sustainababble?!



Without finding a clear difference between CSR 2.0 and CSR 3.0, one thing is for sure: There was a CSR 1.0, CSR 2.5 and there will be a CSR 5.0 some day. It is a science in evolution. I like the smart sound to that. Since the start of my Sustainability journey, I have encountered many, different, sometimes opposite points of view from several experts regarding Sustainability and CSR. Is Sustainability Reporting good or bad?



And what about Sustainability Assurance? Is aid to developing countries good or does it actually stand in the way of the local development? I guess it all depends on the country, time and circumstances. Of course these different point of views have made me more critical about everything I read and hear.

One thing is clear for me at this stage of this master: all terminologies in the fields of Sustainability and CSR are in evolution. It was not until recently that I heard of CSR 2.0 and CSR 3.0 during a class on CSR in SME’s. I will not go into much explanation about the difference between the two. Doing research on the topic, I encountered that, not only there exist ambiguity about the different terminologies but also about where CSR 1.0 ends and where CSR 2.0 starts, etc.

This is my own theory based on everything I have read: First there was Charity and Philanthropy. The marketing department would make good use of these efforts to give a good image to the public, using the marketing budget. I have to admit that I have used this marketing strategy in the past. Then we saw that environmental issues became important on the agenda. Waste reduction, Carbon footprint etc (Greenwashing?). Also I see a separate CSR department, with a sustainability officer (I know, I’m mixing terms here), and Sustainability reporting (making “People, Profit, Planet” more concrete).

Don’t question the accuracy of these facts. The point I’m trying to make is that, today, after a course on CSR in SME’s, I realise that CSR (and Sustainability) are in constant evolution. If CSR 2.0 advised a CSR department, CSR 3.0 suggests CSR to become part of the organisational strategy, present in all departments of a company. If CSR 1.0 was about monologue, CSR 3.0 is about dialogue. Risk management (monologue) versus innovation (dialogue). Stakeholder (emotional) engagement = You’ve gotta LOVE the brand!

If there is something that has driven me to learn more about Sustainability and CSR, is the idea that some of us (Caribbean companies) are still stuck in CSR 1.0./ 1.5: Philanthropy (communities) and environment. But there is more to it. We forget to do CSR. Customer engagement, employees, suppliers, shareholders. How great it would be to take these all into account, and thus help also in these areas to create a brighter future for us and the generations to come (Sustainability buzz phrase, but I like it).



So, the evolution of CSR (I’ve read that more companies are using CR instead of CSR lately, but that would be another post) and Sustainability, though sometimes vague and un-uniformed, is a very important one.

It is not mere Sustainababble.

P.S.: I didn’t invent the word “Sustainababble”. Robert Engelman did:



1. “CSR Evolution”. Consulted on May 3rd, 2015. Available here.

2. “Where does CSR begin? Where does it end?”. Consulted on May 3rd, 2015. Available here.

3. “A new way of doing business in Curaçao”. Consulted on May 3rd, 2015. Available here.

4. “Stages of CSR”. Consulted on May 3rd, 2015. Available here.

5. “CSR 3.0: A new Global Framework for responsible business. Consulted on May 3rd, 2015. Available here.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *