Jared Connors is a subject matter expert on Corporate Social Responsibility and Compliance at Assent Compliance, an innovative company that helps businesses to link their CSR and Compliance departments to ensure a strong and ethical supply chain. In turn, this also creates a more efficient business and gives companies and competitive advantage in the marketplace.

  • Jared got his start in electronics, and his first task was to build an internal library based on an EU regulation for motherboards. In laymen’s terms, inside your laptop there are hundreds of components, and Jared cataloged them all based on hazardous materials declarations. Interestingly, being in an electronics procurement company, Jared noticed gaps in their compliance program. Specifically, social audits for suppliers. That led him to Assent, where he holds a place on a unique, internal regulatory team.
  • So what is the impact of CSR (corporate social responsibility) on compliance? Compliance officers are looking more and more at social responsibility because of the impact it inevitably has on the organization, especially reputation issues among customers. There’s also a trend in regulations that are shepherding companies to be more socially responsible. As a result, Compliance and CSR are linking up more closely than they have in the past.
  • One key point to make here is that much of the deals with companies who use suppliers, and that creates the potential for a supplier to have a different value set than the company who has contracted with them. One of the most important thing that Assent does is to help companies bridge that gap and become aware of their suppliers are doing, and in turn, that helps the company keep their reputation intact.
  • Tom points out that not only will CSR help with supply chain efficiency, it also helps with business efficiency. Jared agrees and explains how a solid CSR can give businesses a strategic advantage. He shares a story from when he was a rookie in the CSR field and a famous quote from Milton Freedman that struck him so deeply he’s carried it with him to this day. However, the quote itself will make you wonder whether CSR will always take a back seat to profits.
  • CSR partnered with Compliance doesn’t have to be reactive. In fact, the way Jared and Assent does it, it’s a very proactive way to be more efficient with suppliers by communicating about the future clearly. Jared talks about how this can cement a company/supplier relationship and safeguard the future of both parties. Especially with more and more countries’ governments enacting CSR regulations.
  • All too often, CSR and Compliance officers tend to separate out different issues and deal with them differently, but this only hinders them. Jared explains how things like factory conditions, child labor, health, etc., all go hand in hand, and how to look at the entire situation as one issue. It comes down to this: you are looking at how all the factors impact an employee’s day to day work life. The result is a more holistic solution to all the problems.
  • When you focus too much on one issue, you have a tendency to ignore other information, and this hinders the most important thing that needs to happen between CSR and Compliance officers: communication. If you aren’t thinking about the big picture, you can’t communicate big picture solutions. Jared discusses this in more detail, and how you can adjust your thinking to ensure a better relationship between CSR and Compliance.

If you want to learn more about Jared Connors, you can read the post I wrote about him last week called How CSR and Supply Chain can Strengthen Compliance. 

Which corporate social responsibility (CSR) regulations should your company be aware of, and what elements constitute a successful CSR program? Download Assent’s eBook, The Quick-Start Guide to CSR & Your Supply Chain, to learn more click here.

If you’re a compliance professional looking for a convenient and effective way to fulfill your continuing education requirements, go to FCPAComplianceReport.com/Courses and choose from 4 hour-long training packages that will keep you up to date with the latest developments in the compliance field.