Yesterday (9 July) saw the launch of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), the UK’s first professional body for people working in corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability.
The launch event, which took place at London’s Guildhall, was attended by more than 200 professionals from the sector. Also in attendance were influential leaders in this area including Alderman Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of the City of London; Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society; and Stephen Howard, chief executive of Business in the Community, who gave their views on the importance of supporting and developing professionalism in the field.
Over the last two decades CR and sustainability has grown to become a key issue for businesses of all sizes. In the UK alone there are now some 4,000 CR and sustainability professionals and in the region of 25,000 people with a significant work-related interest in this area. They are the people guiding and advising the leaders of organisations large and small as they grapple with fundamental issues related to their ethical, environmental and social impact, such as climate change, competition for natural resources, population growth, community engagement and human rights.
The ICRS has been established to meet a need expressed by many of them for establishing standards, developing a code of conduct and creating learning and development opportunities which allow best practice to be shared.
Rowena Webster, project director of the not-for-profit ICRS, said at the launch: “Our mission is to support people to be brilliant in their CR and sustainability work. We want to help and provide those in the sector with the skills and development opportunities to raise their ambition and achievement.
“As well as supporting individuals, we will work to ensure corporate responsibility and sustainability is recognised as a profession and provide it with a single voice. We believe the importance of the Institute is reflected by the fact that attendance at today’s launch was restricted only by the size of the room – we had a significant waiting list of people wanting to attend. We look forward to welcoming them all as members in the coming weeks and months.”
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Fiona Woolf, said in a speech to those attending: “I hope and trust that the Institute will be highly valued and shaped by you. That together you will ensure that it is pioneering in setting standards for the practice of CR and sustainability, that it is supportive in helping you and others to achieve those standards and raise ambitions; and that the ICRS is also outward facing and inspires others to embrace sustainability and responsible business practices.
“By coming together as a profession and getting behind the Institute then I sincerely believe you will have a profound impact here in the City of London, across our capital, within the UK and eventually beyond.”
The Institute is open to everyone working in CR and sustainability who meets the membership criteria, including in-house professionals, consultants, academics and students. Affiliate membership is open to anyone with an interest in CR and sustainability.
Alongside a recognition framework and a road map for career progression, members will have access to exclusive ICRS webinars, mentoring, events and resources, including award-winning online learning materials from Ashridge Business School to support their continuing professional development. Associates, Members and Fellows can use post-nominal letters.
The cost for Affiliates is £120 a year with Associates costing £144 and Members £164. Student Affiliates can join for £30 a year. There is a one-off joining fee of £50 which is waived for Student Affiliates.
Those interested in applying for membership, or who require more information should visit www.icrs.info