WHILE THE SPECIFICS of any approach will vary depending on the industry sector, development sector and local priorities, the CSI Handbook [9th Edition, a Trialogue publication (www.trialogue.co.za)] provides the following good practice guidelines within a universally applicable framework: • Align CSI with the business – Business knowledge and expertise can be more effectively applied if CSI is aligned with the business in one of three ways: through the geographic area/s of operation, the core business function, or the economic sector. By aligning CSI with the business in one of these areas, companies can improve long-term competitive advantage through better conditions in the supply chain and marketplace. Select focus areas – Programmes are more effective if they focus on a few flagship projects within one or two development sectors, allowing the CSI function to build relationships and consolidate expertise. Understand the development context – It’s critical to understand the specific challenges and the dynamics of the development sector and geographic locality. This enables the programme to forge links with other key players, strengthen local institutions and, where best-practice models exist, ensure that optimal approaches are adopted. Consolidate the CSI function – Companies should concentrate CSI expertise in a dedicated “centre of excellence” with a ring-fenced CSI budget. Whatever the structure, there should be a dedicated team that considers the method of engagement and the best way to apply resources. Integrate CSI into the business – CSI thinking should be integrated within company structures and ethos, creating an environment where synergies between different elements of the transformation agenda are forged and internal expertise leveraged between divisions and programmes. Encourage employee volunteerism – Employees can add substantial value to CSI programmes, particularly if their time and Trialogue’s Good Practice core skills are leveraged in support of flagship projects. Engage stakeholders. Forge working partnerships – CSI practitioners should draw on the expertise and knowledge of existing service providers, building synergies to ensure that a total development solution is in place. Monitor and evaluate projects – CSI departments must develop relevant indicators to measure specific results, evaluate the effect of projects over time and develop feedback mechanisms. Replicate and scale up successful models. Build knowledge-sharing mechanisms – such as forums that include fellow corporates and other social sector participants to share CSI lessons. Report on CSI practice – It allows for ongoing assessment and is a platform for formal communication with key stakeholder groups.