Over the last 6 months one thing has become abundantly clear: the business community has accepted the business case for corporate responsibility. Corporate responsibility isnt a marginalize discipline anymore. Theres a clear business case as evidenced by its entrenchment in the business schools, the increasing number of CR positions at an executive level, the growing volume of evidence-based research that tracking its value and impact from many strategic points of view (human resources, enterprise risk, stakeholder relations, brand, investor relations, etc.), and the increase in consulting expertise.
As per my comment Wednesday about the many corporate responsibility web sites, there are also now a plethora of corporate responsibility consultants. Even for someone whos immersed in this area, its hard to keep up with whos who, and difficult to sort out the experts from the newcomers (some very well-qualified and others just riding the bandwagon).
Professional firms that now offer corporate responsibility/sustainability consulting include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young. International advertising and PR agencies including JWT, Edelman, Hill & Knowltonhave also launched corporate responsibility practices. Another important and credible source of expertise is from engineering firms such as CH2M HILL(who have a deep commitment to corporate responsibility).
On a smaller scale, we have the Ottawa-based sustainability consultancy Stratos, Vancouver-based CBSR(a non-profit organization that also offers consulting services), and Manifest Communications(a social marketing agency where I worked for 6 years) among others.
If your company is in the market for professional support, Id advise assessing potential suppliers based on their expertise and the degree to which their involvement is authentic rather than simply another way of leveraging work from their clients.