The CSR Group, LLC provides tools and solutions for a holistic approach to responsible business.
To enable organizations to evolve into forces for positive social and environmental change in all the communities in which they operate, thereby creating a more sustainable world.
Where we’ve been:
In 2002, The CSR Group launched as a pioneer in corporate social responsibility (CSR) consulting. For the past decade, we’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies on ESG Strategy, Ethics, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability Reporting, and CSR Communications. Through our work with past clients, including Dell, Brown-Forman, The Coca Cola Africa Foundation, and Whole Foods Market, we have developed great breadth and depth of knowledge. These experiences have helped clarify our core values and shape our direction over the years.
Where we are:
Now, as we begin our 2nd decade of helping organizations define and realize their sustainability goals, we’ve been thinking long and hard about how to bring our services to a broader audience. Can we democratize sustainability and create a more inclusive conversation? Can we increase the number of medium-sized and small businesses that are growing and thriving through implementing responsible practices?
Where we’re going:
In shifting our focus from intensive one-on-one consulting to guidance through tools and solutions, we reach a broader audience. Our subscription services and a-la-carte offerings empower any organization in any industry to become a responsible business and contribute to a more sustainable world.
Shari Bryan serves as Interim CEO of The CRS Group, LLC and is an executive leader with
30 years of global experience working in more than fifty counties. She understands the
geopolitical risks and opportunities that face economies and democracies around the
world and has focused on political, governance and social issues for decades, while
living and working in Africa, Asia and North America. She has been committed to
supporting human rights, women’s empowerment and equity throughout her career.
Shari has a proven track record of motivating teams and delivering results in politically
complicated and operationally challenging countries. Throughout her leadership
positions, she has demonstrated a successful record of executive management,
innovation and strategic planning, risk and crisis management, and engagement with
multilateral organizations and the private sector.
Shari has extensive experience working with boards of directors, establishing board
governance structures while managing audit and risk, global security, finance and
development committees and has served on the board of a dozen domestic and
international non-profit organizations. She has represented organizations publicly
serving a spokesperson on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and has testified before Congress on
global political events.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate in Law, and
currently serves as an advisor to Georgetown’s Graduate School of Democracy and
Governance. Shari is completing a Professional Certificate in Sustainability from MIT.
Louise Raymond is a senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in sustainability and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) management and strategy including as Vice President of Corporate Responsibility for S&P Global (formerly The McGraw-Hill Companies and McGraw Hill Financial).
Louise has a track record in designing ESG strategies and evaluating ESG performance that focuses on minimizing risk and maximizing opportunity consistent with leading reporting frameworks and investor priorities. She has conducted assessments to determine the financial materiality of ESG performance and integrate ESG and risk management. She has developed and implemented employee initiatives and communication strategies to embed environmental and social practices and build a culture of inclusion. Her approach enables cross business and functional engagement in ESG strategy and performance and ensures alignment with external reporting standards and recommendations such as the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure. She has hands-on experience related to key ESG reporting initiatives such as the U.N. Global Compact’s Sustainable Development Goals, S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.
Louise’s board service has included the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future and the New York Better Business Bureau’s Education & Research Foundation. She also served on the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Sustainability Leaders Network and EY’s Climate Change & Sustainability Leadership Committee. She was named a "CR Superstar" by CR Magazine in 2017.
Paula is the founder of The CSR Group, LLC and was the CEO from 2002 - 2022. She is now a managing director with PwC, but remains an advisor.
Paula brings her vision, extensive knowledge of ESG and more than 20 years of working experience to her clients, leading them through sustainability strategy and solutions that result in risk-reduction and maximized value creation.
Paula’s expertise is at the crux of sustainability, globalization, innovation, and impact investment. She is also extremely talented at facilitating stakeholder conversations and training executives, boards, and teams in a vast array of sustainability matters.
Joel Makower is chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group Inc., producer of GreenBiz.com.
For 20 years, Joel has been a well-respected voice on business, the environment, and the bottom line. Joel is chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group Inc., creator of GreenBiz.com as well as research reports and events on the corporate sustainability strategy and trends. He hosts the annual GreenBiz Forums and VERGE conferences around the world, and is author of the annual State of Green Business report.
In 2012, he was awarded the Hutchens Medal by the American Society for Quality, which cited “his ability to tell compelling stories that both inform and inspire business leaders toward profitable action.”
A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including his latest, Strategies for the Green Economy. Previous books include Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World, about the profit and potential of socially responsible business practices; The E-Factor: The Bottom-Line Approach to Environmentally Responsible Business, on how companies are responding to environmental challenges in positive and profitable ways; and The Green Consumer, a best-selling guide to the environmental marketplace.
He also writes "Sustainable Business, Cleantech and Beyond" (https://www.makower.com/blog/), a popular blog on sustainable business, clean technology, and green marketing.
Joel has been a commentator on environmental topics for public radio's "Marketplace" and appears frequently in both broadcast and print media. He serves as a board member or adviser to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and speaks to companies, industry groups, and business schools around the world.
The Associated Press has called him “The guru of green business practices.”
Jeffrey Smith is a partner in the New York office of Crowell & Moring and is a member of the firm's Environment & Natural Resources and Corporate groups. In addition to working on matters relating to financings, underwritings, mergers and acquisitions across industries on a national and international level, Jeff provides day-to-day counseling on environmental management and corporate governance issues, environmental issues of interest to the SEC, shareholder relations involving environmental matters and environmental litigation.
Among the transactions in which Jeff has recently participated are:
Representation of the underwriters in connection with two registered debt offerings by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. totaling US $750 million.
Representation of Ashland Inc. in connection with the sale of its global distribution business, Ashland Distribution, to Nexeo Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of TPG Capital.
Representation of a NYSE-listed airline in connection with its merger with another NYSE-listed airline.
Representation of a hedge fund in connection with the financial implications of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and ongoing cleanup.
Representation of the underwriters in connection with the US$450 million registered debt offering of Ralcorp Holdings, Inc., which manufactures, distributes and markets Post branded cereals and other food products.
Representation of World Fuel Services Corporation, a leading global fuel logistics company, in a US $200 million registered offering of common stock on the New York Stock Exchange.
Representation of American Water Works Company, Inc., the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company, in connection with its US$775 million and US$516 million secondary offerings of common stock.
Representation of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in connection with its US$2.4 billion acquisition of Medarex Inc.
Representation of a hedge fund in connection with the bankruptcy and reorganization of a U.S.-based coal company.
Representation of Nestlé S.A. in connection with its US$39 billion agreement to sell its stake in Alcon, Inc. to Novartis AG.
Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Jeff was a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he founded the environmental practice group, in addition to serving a five-year term as the firm's managing partner (administration). Jeff has been repeatedly cited as one of the country's preeminent environmental practitioners by, among others, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business since 2007; The Best Lawyers in America since 2007; PLC Which Lawyer? The Legal 500 in 2011; and Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Environmental Lawyers.
Jeff frequently speaks on environmental issues, including guest lectures at Harvard, Columbia, Penn, Georgetown, NYU and Pace law schools. He was the first Chairman of the ABA's Special Committee on Environmental Disclosure and testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment regarding potential SEC requirements for disclosure relating to climate change, leading up to the SEC's 2008 Guidance Memorandum on this issue. He has written a chapter on SEC disclosure issues in real estate transactions in the ABA book Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions, chapters on SEC disclosure and officers' and directors' fiduciary obligations for the ABA treatise Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, articles in the Review of Securities and Commodities Regulation, the Carbon and Climate Law Review and the Capital Markets Law Journal on corporate disclosure relating to climate change, an article on the implications of global warming on business transactions, published in the N.Y.U. Journal of Law and Business, and a series of articles on climate change in the U.S. courts, published in Environmental Liability.
Jeff received an AB cum laude from Harvard University in 1974 and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, where he was a legal writing instructor and president of the Environmental Law.
Greg in an environmental lawyer and has over 25 years of experience handling matters related to environmental risk analysis, federal and state compliance, sustainability strategy and reporting remediation, energy operations, and corporate transactions.
Greg currently heads the environmental practice team at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP in New York City. Since 1992, Greg has served as adjunct professor of Environmental Law and Management at Stevens Institute of Technology. Earlier in his career, Greg was General Counsel of LRN Corporation, a Senior Environmental Attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, a Deputy Director for the New Jersey Hazardous Waste Facilities Siting Commission and an Assistant Director at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
A former professional songwriter and touring musician, Geoff Cline decided to go to law school after his band broke up and he had to deal with complicated intellectual property issues. After graduating from the University of Southern California Law Center, he entered private practice with the law firm of Buchalter, Nemer Fields and Younger. During his career at the firm, Mr. Cline represented clients in the areas of labor and employment law, business litigation, entertainment and general corporate matters. He also undertook public service work, providing pro bono legal services for persons with HIV and AIDS in conjunction with AIDS Project Los Angeles, the LA County Bar and HALSA. He is the author of "Discrimination Against Persons With HIV and AIDS," which was published as part of the Civil Rights Litigation and Attorneys Fees Handbook (1993, Clark, Boardman. et. al.)
Geoff left private practice to become General Counsel for Patagonia, Inc. and its affiliated entities around the world. During his tenure at Patagonia, he was part of the Senior Management team and was involved in all aspects of the Company's policies and practices, with responsibility for the Company's legal affairs and compliance globally. His experience includes vendor and supply chain audits and oversight, employment practices and policies, labeling and advertising issues, intellectual property protection, and extensive research, exploration and hands-on work on what the terms "sustainable" and "socially responsible" really mean in the context of an international business.
While at Patagonia, Geoff was an active participant in the creation of the Company's statement of corporate values and mission statement and the related training and education for employees in multiple locations. This work evolved into his interest, training and work as a consultant in organizational development, corporate culture, communication skills and leadership. Geoff's mentor in this area of his practice is Linda Brown, a founder of Pecos River Training and currently the principal in Wolf Creek Partners.
Geoff has broad experience in media, entertainment and intellectual property issues, having served as Associate General Counsel for HOB Entertainment, Inc. (House of Blues) and as a co-founder of Sovereign Artists, Inc., an independent record label.
Geoff has been a participant at the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has been a member of the boards of directors of a number of nonprofit corporations including Child Development Resources, Inc. and the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. He is currently the President of the Board of Directors of Stonewall HeadStart, Inc. in Stonewall, TX.
Expertise: Corporate Law, Supply Chain Responsibility, Employee Policy, Responsible Marketing and Labeling
Terry Mollner, EdD, is Founder, Chair, and Executive Director of Trusteeship Institute, Inc., a think tank and consulting firm founded in 1973 based on the economic theories of Mahatma Gandhi. Trusteeship Institute focuses on the development of socially responsible businesses.
In the 1970s, Dr. Mollner was one of the earliest pioneers of socially responsible investing and, in 1982, was one of the founders of the Calvert Socially Responsible Investment Fund, the first such fund with the full panoply of social screens. Today it is the largest family of such funds with nearly $7 billion under management. He also provided the leadership to create the Calvert Foundation that is pioneering "community investment" - investment to end poverty - as another new asset class in the professional investment community. Calvert Foundation currently manages over $200 million and is about to launch a program to make its note available to over 300 million EBay and Pay Pal customers.
Dr. Mollner is on the board of Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc., the United Way of Hampshire County, Inc., a fellow of the World Business Academy, a member of the Social Venture Network, and a founder and member of Business Association of Local Living Economies (BALLE) of the Pioneer Valley. He was also one of the founders of Spirit In Business, Inc. in the USA. Mollner has written numerous articles and books, particularly on the Mondragon Cooperatives, and is currently working on a book entitled The Love Skill: It Determines How We Experience Everything Else and How We Change Our World.
Lee Valkenaar has built a successful career on the belief that high quality relationships are the bottom line. In a competitive, price-driven industry, he has risen into a leadership role and contributed to the growth of the world's largest natural foods company by simply focusing on what matters most people.
Valkenaar currently serves as Co-Chair of the Whole Planet Foundation, Whole Foods Market's non-profit organization dedicated to micro-credit loans in developing communities around the globe. Prior to moving to Whole Foods Market's non-profit, he served in multiple Leadership roles, most recently as Whole Foods Market Executive Vice President of Global Support and Chief Executive Officer for Whole Planet Foundation.
After joining Whole Foods Market in 1987, Valkenaar was consistently promoted from team leader to the executive level within less than 10 years. During that time, he sought out increasingly more complex challenges and greater responsibility, while continuously achieving excellence.
Lee sits on the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Organic Farmers Research Foundation (OFRF) a non-profit organization; Blue Avocado - a mission driven, triple bottom line manufacturer of reusable grocery bag systems; Volunteer Spot - an online, volunteer organizing & coordinating service that offers multiple solutions to the traditional volunteering hassles.
Lee is a member of the Advisory Board for The CSR Group, LLC as well as HUGO NATURALS, a manufacturer of high quality all natural body care products.
Part of our strategic vision is to enable young leaders in the ESG and sustainability field through our robust internship program. Every year we chose a class of up and coming students to learn from our team, gain valuable work experience and be a part of our vision to create a more sustainable world.
Email us to learn more about current opportunities.
One of The CSR Group's most valuable assets is the network of experts and industry leaders we've cultivated relationships with over the years. These alliances are trusted resources for partnerships and collaborations. As our client you have access to their specialities and expertise, should the needs of your project require them.
American Sustainable Business Council
The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) works with its members to develop a vision and policy framework for a sustainable market-based economy. A truly sustainable economy requires the responsible stewardship of all types of capital — social, financial, intellectual, and natural. All of these must be tended to make the economy productive, resilient, competitive, and equitable for businesses and their communities.
Their call for a sustainable economy flows from both pragmatic and moral considerations. Morally, they recognize the fundamental rights of all people to develop their talents, earn a living wage, and be treated with dignity in the workplace. Pragmatically, without sustainability, our economy will stagger under the weight of rising inequality and other externalities, such as climate change.
All people engaged in the economy are interdependent. Each is both consumer and producer, both earner and spender. These roles must be kept in balance; jobs are created when consumers have money to spend and destroyed when they don’t. Businesses cannot succeed unless consumers have the ability to spend and the confidence to spend it.
Based on these principles, ASBC engage in a wide range of policy issues. They work to explain the need for sustainability to policy makers, business leaders, and the public at large. ASBC pursues opportunities to develop new policy alternatives and business practices that reflect the triple bottom line criteria (people, planet, and profit) and lead toward a more sustainable economy.
The ideas of stewardship and wise investment to secure future prosperity is neither conservative nor liberal, neither Democrat nor Republican. It is a fundamental tenet of successful business and a core component of the American Dream.
Learn more at www.asbcouncil.org
The CSR Group Network
Our core team of thought leaders is complimented by experts in all the disciplines covering the vast realm of sustainability, so we have the ability to go deeply on issues as needed for our clients.