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Let me start with a few questions. Can business be a force for good? Can business solve big social problems, and what role can you play in this, as a legal leader?

Enter, Hailey Cavill-Jaspers, a self-proclaimed DoGoodologist who has spent 25 years working with companies helping them to ‘do good, better’. Last week’s Victorian In-House Counsel Day attendees were fortunate to hear Hailey share firsthand, her thoughts on how in-house lawyers can influence their organisations and show executives how it’s strategically imperative that Corporate Social Responsibility is embedded into the fabric of their companies.

“Thirty years ago companies were trusted institutions, however today, consumers are feeling let down by all institutions and trust is at an all-time low. Consumers now expect and demand that companies be part of solving social problems and there is so much more that lawyers can do beyond simply pro-bono”

Today, consumers identify with companies more than just for their product or service. They’re searching for brands that are actively reducing their carbon footprint, improving labour practices, are socially conscious, who participate in fair-trade and have corporate policies that benefit the environment. Consumers are now voting at the checkout by purchasing from good companies and boycotting the ones that are behaving badly.”

Organisations need to look at CSR through a holistic lens; no longer are consumers satisfied with a company who “simply promotes that they do pro-bono work or recycle. This isn’t enough anymore”. Organisations need to recognise the interdependence of all areas of CSR; community involvement, consumer issues, human rights, the environment, labour practises, and how they all play a role in the ultimate goal of sustainability.

When speaking at the Victorian In-House Counsel Day Hailey encouraged in-house counsel, whose organisations are yet to embrace CSR to start by asking questions. It is important that in-house lawyers have a seat at the table "right at the beginning” when organisations are discussing a CSR strategy – in essence they need to be a catalyst not just a guardian.

For those in the room last week, I dare say Hailey Cavill-Jaspers disrupted some of the current thinking patterns and provoked conversations back in the office about CSR being integral to both the survival of the planet and the business.

Her belief is that organisations who don’t address the ‘conscience consumer wave’ will become obsolete. She predicted this trend 25 years ago and has been tracking its rise since then and having built 50 partnerships between corporate Australia and non-profits to the value of $43 million. I think Hailey knows a thing or two about organisational strategy, consumer expectations and CSR!

Make sure you join us for our WA or NSW In-House Counsel Days so you have the opportunity to hear firsthand from Hailey Cavill-Jaspers how you, as in-house lawyers, are in the perfect position to create social change.

WA In-House Counsel Day

NSW In-House Counsel Day