ACCP Meets Christine Riley Miller
Director of Sustainability
We know the route to becoming a CSR professional can be different for everyone. Can you briefly tell us how you ended up in the field?
I made a stop in virtually every sector on my CSR journey. I started in the public sector working for a Massachusetts State Senator and moved into the nonprofit sector working to develop corporate partnerships. Then it was on to academia where I worked for the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. I then entered the consulting field, working with Cone Communications and finally into the private sector leading CSR for Dunkin’ Brands and now leading global sustainability for Samsonite.
What do you wish those outside the field knew about CSR?
I wish those outside the field recognized that Corporate Social Responsibility requires a specific set of skills, especially as the field matures. I appreciate that ACCP developed the Corporate Citizenship Guide, which provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of the skills and expertise that are required to be successful across the wide and varied field of CSR.
What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing those in CSR today? Why?
I think the most pressing issue facing those in CSR today is the increasing expectation among consumers and employees that companies can and should act on issues in an increasingly polarized world. It is becoming increasingly harder for companies to stay out of the fray or remain on the sidelines because often, not taking a position is, in fact taking a position. Trying to navigate this environment, advising senior leaders on the best approach, staying ahead of emerging issues that can quickly go viral is quickly becoming one of the key roles for CSR professionals and one that many of us are ill prepared to address.
What’s a favorite quote?
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Walden, Henry David Thoreau
It’s one of my favorite books. I worked for the Walden Woods Project whose aim is to protect and conserve the woods in and around Walden Pond. I have a deep love of Walden Pond, its surroundings and its rich history.
What is the last book you read (or are currently reading)?
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles