Appointed by and reporting to the CEO, I provided CSR strategy advice and planning for a fast-growth South Asian renewable energy operator on a international best practice in readiness for their IPO/private sale.

The Challenge:

This wind energy operator had been operational for several years, and had established a successful business model with its two operational wind farms and five further projects in development.  It was approaching a new phase in the business as it ramped up to bring the new projects on stream and prepare either for an IPO, or for a private sale.

The organisation had made a number of social investment commitments to communities affected by the wind farm sites over the years. They had also been spending during the development phase of the projects on ad hoc sponsorship and hospitality initiatives.

Quite a large CSR team was in place, without clarity of purpose, and with a number of roles overlapping. There were few guidelines for the team to follow and no clear strategy was yet in place to help frame or direct the investments, or to align them with business goals.

This left the organisation vulnerable to potential criticism around corporate governance issues, and the lack of strategy meant that the investments were not being monitored or driven towards any specific outcomes. Reporting was minimal. The local political environment meant accusations of bribery and corruption were common, exacerbating the risk to the business.

Any future international or institutional investors would expect to see greater evidence of best practice and due diligence to protect this investment and ensure it was both open to scrutiny and could be linked back to real and long-term benefits for the communities affected by the wind farms.

Local stakeholders needed clarity on how the social investment was to be directed to help direct and streamline reactive funding requests.

Key Achievements:

  • Created a full set of CSR policies for the company;
  • Delivered a series of strategy papers for the Board with advice on how to structure, allocate funding for, and administer their social and community investment programme;
  • Articulated their broader CSR goals and strategy
  • Conducted a detailed analysis of the existing funding commitments that had been made to the future wind farm projects;
  • Creation of a new equitable financial model for allocating all future social investment funds;
  • Travelled to Bangkok in January 2015 to run a workshop with the client’s 20 strong land development, CSR and PR teams to roll out the new strategy;
  • On our advice, the Company established a corporate Foundation through which all their social and community investments funds ($10m USD) is to be channelled;
  • Researched and approached several eminent rural development experts, sustainable livelihood academics and land use advisers as potential Trustees for appointment, and writing a script for use for further approaches, along with a job description for the roles;
  • Guiding Principles and a draft of the recommended Priority Focus Areas for the community investment spend and as an initial guide for the Trustees to follow was also produced and signed off by the Board;
  • Created Sponsorship and Donation Guidelines, Case Complaints Procedures and the Fund Application Form for all Foundation requests;
  • Advised CEO and Head of CSR on new CSR and PR team structure, including hierarchy, headcount, R&Rs & project priorities for the coming year.