The increasing importance of CSR is reflected in the growing number of Canadian private-sector and civil society led initiatives emerging across Canada and around the world. Many Canadian companies are either working individually, with members of civil society or through their associations to develop codes of conduct and in the development of best practices including risk assessment, stakeholder relations and reporting, to guide their operations both domestically and overseas.
Voluntary codes of conduct are not a new phenomenon internationally nor for Canadian companies. There has been a proliferation of interest and activity in Canada on the part of private business in the whole area of CSR. These include companies and organizations involved in advising, training and promoting CSR such as the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, the Conference Board of Canada’s - Canadian Centre for Business in the Community, the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy’s Imagine Program, the Centre for Innovation and Corporate Responsibility and Interpraxis Consulting, and companies involved in "ethical" or "socially responsible" investment funds such as VanCity and Ethical Funds Inc. and umbrella groups such as the Social Investment Organization, a non-profit network of companies and investment professionals. As well, CSR investment research groups, such as Michael Jantzi Research, EthicScan Canada, publish website information and newsletters. Institutional investors, such as foundations and pensions funds are also showing a growing interest in the issues motivated by human rights and other concerns related to investments in countries in conflict. Canadian organizations which advise institutional investors in this area include: Shareholder Association for Research and Education and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors.
Canadian non-governmental organizations are also involved in CSR - examples include: Canadian Council for International Cooperation, Amnesty International Canada, Mining Watch, Halifax Initiative, The International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility.
Canadian business associations such as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Mining Association of Canada, the Canadian Chemical Producers Association and Retail Council of Canada are assisting their members in the development of codes of conduct and in the development of best practices to guide their overseas operations.
Canadian companies are also actively involved in international CSR initiatives. In an effort to promote CSR in Canada, a private initiative was recently launched to annually rank the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in the country. The project’s website has up to date information on the CSR initiatives of the Canadian private sector and the list of annual ranked 50 Best Corporate Citizens in the country. In May 2004, the Conference Board of Canada released Canada’s first National Corporate Social Responsibility Report: “Managing Risks, Leveraging Opportunities.” The report includes an in-depth analysis of the CSR management practices of 53 of Canada's 300 largest companies. The National Corporate Social Responsibility Report, sponsored by a number of leading public and private sector organizations including DFAIT is available on the website.
In May 2003 a Corporate Social Responsibility Study examining the best practices of 10 Canadian companies in the area of CSR was released by a joint Federal Government Working Group.
For specific examples of Canadian company activity and Canadian Industry Sector activity please see Industry Canada’s CSR website.
Canadian Organizations/ Associations Working CSR
The Conference Board of Canada - Canadian Centre for Business in the Community
The Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
Centre for Innovation and Corporate Responsibility
The International Institute for Sustainable Development
Canadian Council for International Business
The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
The Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Canadian Chemical Producers Association
Retail Council of Canada
The Mining Association of Canada
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Canadian Council for International Cooperation
Amnesty International Canada
Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility
Canadian Labour Congress
Socially Responsible Investment in Canada
Shareholder Association for Research and Education
Ethical Funds Inc.
Michael Jantzi Research Associates
Innovest Strategic Value Advisors
Social Investment Organization