There has been a radical expansion in the role of the private sector in the social and environmental development sectors. The private sector is moving well ahead of governments on key issues such as carbon emissions, gender parity, green supply chains and diversity and inclusion.
Organisations across the world are taking action and developing CSR strategies that revolve around the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN. However, this can increase the expenses significantly for a company. The businesses face a challenge of attempting to mitigate this cost while still pushing toward these important goals.
Human capital is the answer to this challenge. It is considered to be the most important resource in any organisation. Human capital refers to ‘the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labour so as to produce economic value.’
Employee volunteering has tremendous potential as a key mechanism to access human capital to drive positive local and international development initiatives. Employee volunteering is an evolution beyond traditional corporate philanthropy and one-way flow of investment in communities to enable a more dynamic exchange between corporate employees and key stakeholder groups representing a community and civil society.
Mobilizing employees to voluntarily take action in communities where they live and work offers companies multiple entry points to address the SDGs. Employees who volunteer create access to a massive array of social networks as well as the social capital represented across those networks. This enables businesses to operate beyond an organization-to-issue threshold typically represented in most collective impact projects whereby organizations are viewed as the primary actor in providing solutions.
Employee volunteering, when done correctly, emphasizes the potential of mobilizing employees as primary actors, working together with multiple stakeholders and across multiple geographical scales. This approach to mobilizing human capital holds the promise of real progress towards achieving the SDGs.
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The CSR Journal Team