Let me start out by answering the question in the title – how CSR-programs differ from one industry to another one – directly: Not very much actually!
The basis for my clear response to the question is a number of people I have met in meetings today. I have heard presentations and listened to experiences from companies in such different industries as management consulting, HR solutions, and from the pharmacy sector. The guiding principle for everyone seem to be ”doing the right thing for society, on the same time as they are doing good business”. CSR-programs have really developed from being charity driven to business oriented win-win solutions. This makes me happy, since I strongly believe that CSR programs that are integrated in the business strategies are the only programs that are really sustainable. For details regarding Pfizer’s CSR program and the integeration with business strategies, see my blog post from March 29, 2010 (in Swedish, sorry for that…).
The ”only thing” that differ from one CSR program, to another one in another industry, is ”in the details”. The detailed specifics of each program are dependent upon type of operations and business and stakeholder priorities. The pharmacy focus on health related issues such as health literacy, the management consultant provides support and services on ”management processes”, whereas a company working with HR solutions of course could really make a difference when it comes to diversity and inclusion. The whole idea is of course to utilize the specific core competencies of each company to support a positive societal development on the same time as they are doing good business! It is as simple as that – and also as difficult as that… It may have been easier to run the CSR programs when charity was the predominating aspect, but we should never forget that the longterm results today are way more relevant!