Key Elements of CSR with Clare Woodcraft-Scott

Key Elements of CSR with Clare Woodcraft-Scott

Clare Woodcraft-Scott is the Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Foundation, where she is responsible for driving the vision of supporting youth development. With over 20 years of experience in the field of sustainable development in the region, she worked as a development practitioners, a journalist, and a corporate executive specialising in sustainability, social investment and reputation management. In the following interview, she explains some of the key elements of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well as the positive impact of such initiatives on businesses.


  1. Should Government make CSR mandatory?

No. It should be something that companies embrace because they see the value to them in terms of license to operate, managing non-technical risk, and reputation. It is about helping companies understand the strategic value or ‘shared value’ that CSR, or ‘Sustainability’ can bring to a business strategy.

CSR initiatives should be owned and led by the top of the organisation. In fact, leadership is the most important stakeholder in CSR. It is very difficult to convince organisations to adopt an integrated sustainability strategy if the CEO and the C-Suite are not convinced of the value of doing so.

  1. Can you explain the impact of CSR on the business?

If done correctly, not only does it enhance employee engagement, it is employee engagement in itself. It is also all about understanding your communities. Sustainability should expand your customer base by demonstrating that you respond to the entirety of your stakeholders’ needs.

  1. What are the most important areas to invest back into?

Stakeholder engagement and understanding stakeholder risk

  1. What is the best platform to create awareness for CSR initiatives?

A mixture of internal engagement, community engagement, external, and media engagement.

  1. What are the top 5 success factors of a sustainability framework?
  • Being owned at the top
  • Being ‘built-in’ rather than ‘bolted-on’
  • It should be inclusive of all the elements of the company’s business strategy.
  • Not being allocated to the communications team as a ‘communications initiative’
  • Being fundamentally integrated into how company manages risk and stakeholders
  1. What are the top 5 key values you need in order to be a truly sustainable organisation?
  • Long –term thinking
  • A collaborative mindset
  • Inter-generational thinking
  • Willingness to innovate through sustainability
  • Interest in managing non-technical risk
  1. How can we engage future social entrepreneurs?

By providing them an operating environment conducive to their businesses – i.e. tax friendly, regulation-light, and one that encourages innovation and new solutions to old social challenges. The Middle East has yet to provide a social enterprise regulatory framework.