With over twenty years of experience in progressive business leadership in Canada we call upon Canadian companies and their partners to scale and accelerate their CSR and sustainability strategies – and adopt the Qualities of a Transformational Company. Read on to find out why and how we developed this new leadership standard.

Why we developed the Transformational Company Qualities

CBSR has been a pioneer in corporate social responsibility and sustainability since we were founded in 1995. Our mission is to accelerate and scale corporate social and environmental sustainability in Canada and challenge the “business as usual” model.

By 2010 our members and other companies were asking us for more information, guidance and best practices on the fourth stage: the qualities of a transformational company.

At the same time we recognized that the CSR path companies were on would not position society to live well within the means of the planet by 2050 with a burgeoning global population of nine billion. So, we realized we needed to develop guidelines on the qualities of a transformational company that went beyond everyday CSR practices – guidelines that would accelerate, scale and innovate corporate practices and business models to enable business and societal success.

How we developed the Transformational Company Qualities

We engaged our associate, Coro Strandberg, a Canadian CSR pioneer and futurist, to conduct a global scan of twenty leading CSR and corporate sustainability guidelines and standards. She compiled these into a set of draft transformational qualities. She then engaged three dozen leading CSR thinkers, visionaries and practitioners around the world for their advice on the emerging requirements for transformational leadership. This resulted in the 19 Qualities of a Transformational Company published in 2012.

In 2013 and 2014 we developed a series of best practice case studies to show the qualities in action and in 2015, with funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, we published a comprehensive how-to guide to help companies operationalize the Transformational Company Qualities – which we affectionately call the TCQ.

What is a Transformational Company?

Transformational companies commit to act beyond their direct operations, and the foreseeable future, to become world-class sustainability leaders in their region and sector. They invest in business models and initiatives that transform their business and operating context, in ways that improve prospects for the business and society.

There is no magic formula or threshold for becoming a transformational company. The more qualities pursued by a company, the more transformational the company becomes compared to its peers, which remain focused on short term practices in their direct operational control.

Check out these webinars for examples of best practice companies pursuing comprehensive transformational strategies. Read best practice case studies of the qualities in action.

Why are the Transformational Company Qualities important?

A growing and urbanizing global population, changing societal expectations, and continuous technology innovation are affecting the context in which business can succeed and thrive. In light of these tectonic shifts, companies are compelled to rethink their business models to ensure that they can create shareholder and societal value over the long term. Leading companies now realize that to improve both their operating context and societal well-being they must act beyond their own direct operations and the foreseeable future.

But they lack a roadmap. This is where the TCQs come in. They are a convenient resource for any company, large or small, regardless of their region or ownership model. They are designed to save organizations time and money understanding the new CSR imperative.

The Transformational Company Qualities are the definitive go-to resource, benchmark and checklist for anyone interested in the essential requirements of CSR or sustainability leadership.

What is the business case for the Transformational Company Qualities?

Here are some of the business benefits which can be achieved with a transformational approach:

  • Employee engagement: Improve employee recruitment, retention and productivity; be seen as an employer of choice
  • Customer satisfaction: Increase customer attraction, engagement and advocacy; open access to new markets
  • Brand and reputation: Build a positive brand and reputation with key stakeholders; become a partner of choice
  • Cost savings: Lower costs from reduced materials, water and energy use and waste management
  • Government relations: Anticipate, prepare for and influence government regulations and standards
  • Supply and resource security: Improve supply-chain security and maintain access to scarce resources; manage price volatility
  • Innovation: Foster innovation and develop new products and services
  • Risk management: Decrease strategic and operational risks; enhance business continuity
  • Capital access: Increase availability of capital
  • Operating context: Improve the operating context of the business; create external conditions for future success
  • Competitive advantage: Build competitive and first-mover advantage
  • Social licence: Positive stakeholder relations and social licence to operate and grow
How can I use the Qualities?

If you work for, advise or lobby companies on corporate social responsibility or sustainability you can take your practices to the next level of scale and impact with the Transformational Company Qualities. Save yourself time and resources by using the TCQ to develop or inform your CSR or sustainability priorities. You can:

  • Use the TCQ to understand best and next generation CSR practices from around the world
  • Benchmark your company against the qualities and address gaps
  • Use the TCQ to inform your stakeholder consultations and gap and opportunity assessments
  • Include the TCQ in board and leader education and strategy sessions
  • When designing or updating your sustainability or CSR strategy review the TCQ for inspiration an ensure you are positioning your company for success
  • Work with your industry or professional association to develop a sector or professional roadmap to transformational practices
How can I join the Transformational Company movement?

Join us! Help us accelerate and scale the Transformational Company in Canada and beyond. Here are some of the ways you can get involved:

  • Sign up for CBSR’s newsletter to keep up to date on the Qualities of a Transformational Company.
  • Follow the Transformational Company on twitter.
  • Share your TCQ stories at #transformational company or let us profile your journey.
  • Join the transformational company discussion on linkedin.
  • Learn more about the transformational company at one of our events.
  • Become a sponsor of transformational tools or events. Sponsor one of the qualities or help us spread the word. Contact us.
  • Invite us to attend your strategy session, board meeting, conference or industry association event to educate on these trends and inspire transformational action.

Quick Links

View the TCQ at a glance
Watch a brief TCQ best practice video
Listen to a 30-minute overview of the TCQ
Read the TCQ how-to guide
Read the best practice case studies