Fireside Chat: Supporting our members during Covid-19

We’re developing ways to support and connect our ICRS members through these uncertain and rapidly changing times. Our first Fireside Chat held on Friday 27 March provided an opportunity for an informal discussion on the priorities and concerns of those working in CRS. Like many organisations, we’re still navigating our way through these challenges but we plan to hold weekly Friday Fireside Chats.

This provides a forum to discuss our responses to the pandemic, learn what others are doing and share resources. Anita Longley, Chair of the ICRS, outlined a number of initial themes which include:

  • Support and tips for working from home and developing resilience
  • Working out ways to support our charitable partners and communities through partnerships
  • How to continue to communicate, ensure consistency and get the balance and tone of messages right
  • Sharing our responses to the pandemic

In the longer term we thought it would be interesting to explore what a post-pandemic world might look like and how it might be shaped from a sustainability perspective. 

Jennie Galbraith FICRS, ICRS Vice Chair, provided a perspective from British American Tobacco, where she is Group Head of Sustainability:

Today, many businesses are currently in crisis mode, making sure their operations can still run.  Some may need to stay in this mode for the duration of the pandemic, and that’s understandable, but others will have the capacity to address their responsibility beyond their shareholders and employees, to wider stakeholder groups. This is completely new territory, nobody has the answers and we are all learning together - but there is power in co-operating. As CRS practitioners we can come together to define not only our role in addressing the crisis but to also look to what sustainable business practice will look like when the crisis is over.

Participants shared examples of their own responses and concerns and a number of links to useful resources which can be found here on our Covid-19 Resource Area. We also discussed the challenges of supporting suppliers, keeping our teams motivated and working in the community.

The next Fireside Chat will focus on partnerships, and how such partnerships with charities, organisations and NGOs may change in the face of the pandemic. Board member Jessica White, Head of Social Impact EMEA & LatAm at Linkedin, will host this week's chat alongside Anita. 

Looking to next week, we intend to hold a further fireside chat on communications, led by Board member Vic Taylor, Managing Director of Flag.

In the meantime, if you have thoughts on how the ICRS can support you, please email We’re encouraging our members to share examples of how they’re responding to the pandemic so be sure that you’re also a member of our members-only LinkedIn Group, The Exchange Online.