Transform to Thrive: Positive Change through CSR with Catherine Brown

How can CSR focus your company and motivate your team? Lisa had Aviva Canada’s VP of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility Catherine Brown on our LinkedIn Live show Transform to Thrive to answer just that. Catch up on the show’s recording and see some of the key takeaways from their discussion below.


It’s More than Marketing

Lisa stresses that CSR needs to be baked into all lines of business and can’t just be a marketing play. Catherine agrees, using the example of Aviva Canada’s road safety initiatives. The idea stemmed from the data their claims analysts had pulled on auto insurance claims. By looking at that data from a road safety perspective, Aviva could start making a real difference in prevention. It’s something that the public has responded well to: Catherine says that people weren’t just comfortable with them being in that space, but felt “that we were accountable.”


Pick a Lane

There are hundreds and thousands of worthy causes out there, but which ones are right for your company? Catherine speaks to Aviva’s three pillars of CSR: employee-led initiatives, sustainability, and road safety. The Aviva Community Fund has donated over $9.5 million to these three “lanes” – allowing the insurance company to make a real impact in each area. Lisa adds that alignment to the organization is key: you can look at the data and communicate directly with your audiences through focus groups to make sure what you’re doing is resonating and coming across as authentic.


Empower Your People

The first Aviva pillar – employee engagement – plays out in two ways. Employees get their donations matched by the company, as well as paid days to volunteer for causes they’re passionate about. About 25 per cent of employees volunteered last year, and those volunteer days have the spin-off benefit of team-building and pride in the company. Moreover, it’s important to walk the talk of all of your CSR initiatives within the company. Catherine brings up the example of the zero-plastics initiative they took on that rid the office of single-use plastics, relating to Aviva’s sustainability pillar.


As Lisa says, CSR is a “long game,” but one that you have to take part in if you want engaged employees and a more integrated organization. Make sure you stay tuned for the next Transform to Thrive, coming soon to LinkedIn Live.

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