The Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS) is the UK’s professional body for corporate responsibility and sustainability (CRS). Its mission is to help individuals and organisations be brilliant at CRS.
Established by a group of senior CRS professionals, the ICRS supports and recognises people and companies for their achievements in CRS. It is led by a volunteer board of directors, all senior CRS professionals, who give their time, energy and expertise to guide the Institute’s strategic direction.
ICRS offers both organisational and individual memberships. Individual members and their Fellows (more experienced senior members) enhance their careers by honing skills, sharing knowledge and experience, connecting across sector boundaries, and gaining professional recognition for their achievements.
Organisational members open up access to the world of CRS for all their employees, extending a responsible business mindset across departments, and introducing the principles of CRS to all corners of their organisation.
Membership of ICRS offers the following benefits:
- Development of knowledge and skills: keep yourself, your team and your entire firm up to speed with leading responsible business practices and the skills needed to make it happen
- Recognition and profile: recognise your experience and career achievements through mentoring roles, speaking opportunities at our events and ICRS Fellowship
- Networking opportunities: meet other responsible business professionals at ICRS flagship events, roundtable discussions, regional ICRS Hub meetings, and through the ICRS online community
Resources and materials
ICRS has a library of self-help resources and materials, including a COP26 Learning Zone, and accredited CPD members can use the ICRS frameworks and guidance to help set personal objectives, track progress, and reflect on experience. These tools complement other professional development support you may have in place.
The ICRS Mentoring Programme is open to all ICRS individual members. It is designed to help you develop your competencies and knowledge of CRS, manage your career progression and grow as a leader in industry, whilst building lasting connections across the sector.
I am pleased and proud to say that I am an ICRS Mentor, supporting a young, up and coming professional in Tesco’s sustainability reporting team.
ICRS Competency Framework
Key to the professional development of CRS practitioners is the ICRS Competency Framework, developed with inputs from many CRS and sustainability professionals, including practitioners, consultants and academics, with the support of Business in the Community (BITC), the business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business.
Set up by the Prince of Wales over 40 years ago, BITC works with 600 members across the UK to enhance their collective community impact, something that the Lieutenancy is keen to promote.
The ICRS Competency Framework is designed to help practitioners be successful by acting as a springboard for creativity and ambition. It aims to help people have the impact they need to embed sustainability into their organisation’s core strategy, with equal prominence given to both social as well as environmental factors.
ICRS Northamptonshire Hub
ICRS members are currently running regional ICRS hubs in Birmingham, Farnborough, Leeds, Oxford, London, Ireland and Scotland. They also have a virtual hub for new and aspiring CRS professionals, the Aspire Hub, and, for the more experienced practitioner members, an ICRS Fellows Hub.
The University of Northampton is a corporate member of ICRS, with many staff and students registered as individual members. In June 2021, the University, which supports the Lord-Lieutenant in facilitating greater collaboration between local businesses and charities, set up the ICRS Northamptonshire Hub.
A joint business-academic steering committee was recently established, which includes senior CRS professionals from prominent county companies such as Blue Skies Fruit, Medigold Health and Scott Bader.
The next ICRS Northants Hub meeting is on Wednesday January 26 from 12.30-2pm, hopefully face to face but also with a web access option. Attendance is free and open to all those engaged in CSR or CRS activities, whether ICRS members or not.
The theme? A Beginners Guide to Net Zero. This nicely picks up the theme of COP26, held in October-November 2021.
So why not come along to find out more about ICRS Membership and meet like-minded people who, in 2022, want to use the power of business to change the world for the better!