UK’s first professional body for corporate responsibility and sustainability launched

The UK sustainability sector now has a professional body for establishing standards, developing a code of conduct and creating learning and development opportunities with the launch of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS).

More than 200 sustainability professionals descended upon London’s Guildhall earlier this week for the launch of ICRS, which now is open for membership from in-house professionals, consultants, academics and students.

Speaking at the launch, the not-for-profit organisation’s project director Rowena Webster said: “Our mission is to support people to be brilliant in their CR and sustainability work. We want to help and provide those in the sector with the skills and development opportunities to raise their ambition and achievement.

“As well as supporting individuals, we will work to ensure corporate responsibility and sustainability is recognised as a profession and provide it with a single voice. We believe the importance of the Institute is reflected by the fact that attendance at today’s launch was restricted only by the size of the room – we had a significant waiting list of people wanting to attend.

“We look forward to welcoming them all as members in the coming weeks and months.”

Raising standards

With more than 4,000 CR and sustainability professionals in the UK along with 25,000 people with a significant work-related interest in this area, the ICRS has been launched to allow best practice to be shared among these people that guide and advise business leaders as they grapple with issues related to their ethical, environmental and social impact.

Also in attendance at the launch was the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Fiona Woolf; the Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd; and chief executive of Business in the Community Stephen Howard.

Woolf said: “I hope and trust that the Institute will be highly valued and shaped by you; that together you will ensure that it is pioneering in setting standards for the practice of CR and sustainability; that it is supportive in helping you and others to achieve those standards and raise ambitions; and that the ICRS is also outward facing and inspires others to embrace sustainability and responsible business practices.

“By coming together as a profession and getting behind the Institute then I sincerely believe you will have a profound impact here in the City of London, across our capital, within the UK and eventually beyond.”

Membership criteria

The Institute has been established by the Corporate Responsibility Group (CRG) and is being run by a secretariat provided by Carnstone – a consultancy group in the field of CR and sustainability.

Membership to the ICRS is open to everyone working in CR and sustainability who meets the membership criteria, with affiliate membership open to anyone with an interest in CR and sustainability.

Alongside a recognition framework and a roadmap for career progression, members will have access to exclusive ICRS webinars, mentoring, events and resources – including online learning materials from Ashridge Business School to support professional development.

The cost for Affiliate Members is £120 a year with Associate Membership costing £144 and Membership priced at £164. Student Affiliates can join for £30 a year. There is a one-off joining fee of £50 which is waived for Student Affiliates.

Those interested in applying for membership should visit

Luke Nicholls

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