Our graduates we’re asked to identify the benefits of the Certificate in CSR/Sustainability, University of St. Michael’s College at U of T. The answer came in 4 Parts:
1) Did graduating from the CSR Certificate program open new career opportunities for you?
- I was hired by the United Nations to teach CSR to ten Caribbean postal administrations.
- It helped me position myself as an expert in the field in which I already worked.
- My career moved in a new direction. I now work in government relations and my CSR experience has let to new relationships with politicians.
- It provided me with opportunities to expand my CSR responsibilities within my existing role.
- It provided me with additional skills that became part of my consulting portfolio.
Participants also reported that since their graduation they have advanced to some of the following positions: Executive VP & Chief Sustainability Officer, VP Stakeholder Relations, National Director Corporate Sustainability & Energy Management, Director Corporate Development, Managing Director etc.
2) Was your capstone project of value to your company?
- Our company went from not having any sustainability goals to a holistic plan that will advance both our company and industry as a whole.
- The project gave me knowledge to build a broad CSR strategy for our responsible gambling efforts.
- The project provided me with a road map to achieving our first sustainability report.
- It increased my knowledge on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and I ended up with a contract with GRI to assess their training programs.
- It provided me with a broader knowledge of content that contributed to the strategic plan of my organization.
- It helped me complete the customer RFP process and we’ve since been included into the DJSI globally.
3) After graduation, did you use the program’s knowledge and skills to tackle a business challenge/opportunity for your company?
- Our new sustainability initiatives led directly to the acquisition of two new top tier clients. Our bottom line has been positively impacted now that we’re better focused on doing the right thing.
- I was able to build win-win situations with stakeholders such as first responders, first nations people and government.
- I was recognized as a specialist in my field with my new knowledge of the Canadian landscape for ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (EPR).
- We changed the composition of our van and aircraft fleet.
- We learned how to write an award winning Sustainability Report and we were recognized internationally.
- We developed a web based sustainability audit that we now use with our clients. We created both a national CSR communication plan and national green teams.
- I was able to secure a budget to develop employee CSR programs – it was very well received by all 600 of our employees. It helped us tell our CSR story, why our commitment matters and how it contributes to our company’s long term sustainability goals.
4) Did the Certificate in CSR help you to build a professional network of colleagues and subject matter experts?
- It’s great to network with like-minded individuals – it was fascinating and rewarding. This accreditation has opened doors that I never expected.
- I felt more plugged into the world of CSR and Sustainability. I met many people that I know I could reach out to for their expertise and/or advice.
- I now have a broad network of CSR professionals outside of the industry in which I work. I feel connected to people who can provide advice/input on challenges or opportunities. This network has been invaluable to me.
- When my job was eliminated, my network was not only emotionally supportive but they also shared job opportunities.
- Since we often work in isolation, my contacts are invaluable for ideas, support and as a sounding board.
- I have stayed in touch with many classmates (and with St. Michael’s).
- One of my objectives was to return to Canada from the US and to change industries. My new network has been very helpful.
- The opportunity to collaborate with CSR experts in different industries has provided me with a different lens to think more creatively about CSR.