London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) September 01, 2009 -- "dtoc AvantGarde is not just an online platform" explains founder Michael Knackfuss "it's an entirely new model in how to approach issues of sustainability and corporate responsibility".
"When setting this up, we knew two things - that we had to find a way to bring people from the business world and from the wider community together; and that to get the ball rolling, we would have to become what we wanted to see in other businesses."
With these two things in mind, dtoc AvantGarde went about setting up an all-new model: part online community, part foundation, and part corporate consultancy service provider.
"We knew that the quickest way to reach everyone (and allow them to reach each other) was via the internet, but that nothing is as productive in building relationships as face-to-face discussions. So we have an online portal where we present Portraits of our members - their products, services, goals etc. -and run an active forum to encourage exchange of ideas and experiences amongst the members. But in addition to that, we will also be running regular events giving our members an opportunity to come together, the first being scheduled for London in December."
As well as implementing our own CSR vision and strategy, dtoc AvantGarde wanted to take the lead in showing how companies can make a tangible difference in their own community while still managing their core business. "Something that is of great personal interest to me is widening participation in higher education and opening up the educational pathways to young people from groups who traditionally have been under-represented. So the first of our projects - Green Education - will tackle that". The projects will be run parallel to the core business of the company and funded partly through the registration fees and contributions of its members.
The final piece in the model was to find a way for companies or individuals not just to start thinking in a sustainable way, but to help them take action and turn their vision into goals, and goals into realistic and achievable action plans. "Through our partner companies we offer a suite of consultancy services, but will also actively encourage members to partner with each other to realise common goals."
The first phase of dtoc AvantGarde is to build its membership. "We are looking for business, business people or anyone who is engaged with the idea of sustainable development - those who already have a strong CSR performance, and those just looking to get started on their journey who might need help, support, or ideas"
"The challenges, we face today are huge: climate change, food security, peak oil - they will effect us all: the business community, as well as the community at large. In the past we have been inclined to leave it up to the Government to deal with, but they alone can not solve these problems. Sure they can regulate and create a legal framework in which we operate, but the rest is up to us. We are all stakeholders in the future, and we must all take responsibility and participate in building the future we want - one which is sustainable socially, environmentally and economically. The time for armchair politics is over. This is the time for engaging and taking action, and the dtoc AvantGarde is the perfect starting point for this".