Why is CSR essential for your company?

The term CSR is slowly applying itself to many conversations centered around fundamental changes within companies. But what exactly is it?

Definition of the Concept of CSR

CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, is defined as the voluntary integration by companies of social and environmental concerns into their business activities and their relationships with stakeholders. We sometimes also talk of Corporate Social Responsibility. It aims to improve the society as a whole and promote ethical values ​​and transparency.

In other words, it corresponds to the participation of companies in the sustainable development issues established by the United Nations in 2015.

These build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2000. They bring together issues considered important to humanity’s success for the next millennium. Thus CSR includes commitments to limit the organization’s environmental footprint and positive social practices within the structure, such as measures of quality of life at work for employees.

It is defined by the ISO 2000 standard which lays down 7 pillars of CSR, namely:

  • governance of the organization;
  • human right ;
  • working relations and conditions;
  • Environment ;
  • fair dealing;
  • consumer issues;
  • communities and local development.

What are the objectives of CSR?

The concept of CSR has its roots in the Brundtland Report published in 1987. It defines sustainable development for the first time. He refers to it as “a mode of development that meets the needs of the present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”.

Essentially, this responsibility advocated for companies is divided into various objectives and dimensions that are important to specify. There are three pillars of CSR.

Environmental effect

First, CSR aims to reduce the environmental impact of the economic fabric, especially for businesses. The fight against global warming is ubiquitous in our society today. The concept of CSR is at the forefront of this battleground which envisages responsible change. Protection of the environment includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable management of natural resources, reducing waste and pollutants, as well as promoting environmentally-responsible actions that decarbonize our societies.

Social Impact

Next, CSR aims at improving the working conditions of the employees. The search for meaning, leaving quietly, the increased incidence of burn-out, are all factors that demonstrate the essential nature of an employer brand. They put the well-being of your employees at the center of your concerns. This approach is exercised on a daily basis through diversity and inclusion measures, the fight against harassment and discrimination, as well as through training and skills development.

It includes benefits that go beyond monetary compensation to ensure conditions conducive to the mental and physical health and safety of employees.

A socially responsible organization should also pursue goals of strengthening ties with the communities in which it operates. Concretely, the actions you can implement can be support for regional projects, the development of partnerships with local actors, or a sincere consideration of the expectations and needs of the communities concerned.

To achieve tangible results, CSR should be disseminated at the governance level of the structure.

Management practices have a duty to be ethical and transparent. The presence of a strong corporate culture focused on responsibility allows progress to be made taking into account social and environmental impacts for strategic decisions. It supports the integration of ethical business practices as well as global management that involves all stakeholders.

economic impact

Ultimately, the concept aims to provide consumers with the means to lead a healthier and more responsible lifestyle. Thus a gap is slowly emerging between organizations taking the turn of responsible revolution, encouraging alternatives to sustainable consumption patterns, and so-called traditional models of commerce.

What are the CSR issues to keep in mind?

Establishing a CSR policy in your company can sometimes be part of a specific, often complex environment.

It is important to ensure that your CSR policy is in line with the overall strategy and general objectives of your organization. This practice should be viewed more as an opportunity to create long-term value for your company and its stakeholders, rather than a hindrance.

As mentioned earlier, management support in a responsible commitment is essential to its success. All of your employees should also be involved in the implementation process to influence an effective and sustainable culture.

Another key issue is the guarantee of transparency and authenticity of communications around CSR objectives.

Then it is a question of avoiding greenwashing in CSR communication, of proving the effectiveness of actions.

Talking about impact makes sense only when it is properly measurable. “We only manage what we measure”: Your company needs to be able to measure the scope of its operations in order to continuously improve them. Objectives should be realistic, given measures, and adapted to the particularities of the areas of activity.

Why is CSR important?

CSR makes it possible to address key issues identified in major reports of international organizations such as the IPCC or the WEF (World Economic Forum). The concept therefore allows companies to take into account the environmental, social and economic issues of their activities and adopt a responsible approach. They then have the possibility to anticipate the risks and opportunities related to their activity in order to better prepare for the future.

It also helps you meet the expectations of your stakeholders including customers, employees, investors and suppliers. These are more and more sensitive to ecologically and socially respectable practices.

Defining an honest approach can improve your brand image and strengthen your company’s reputation.

Like competition, CSR is a factor that encourages innovation for companies. Through innovative approaches to developing products or services, you can improve your operational efficiencies, differentiate yourself from competitors, and gain market share.

Who is concerned with CSR?

Article 1833 of the Civil Code, as amended by the PACTE law, obliges companies to consider “the social interest, taking into account the social and environmental issues of their activity” in their management. But till date there is no legal obligation regarding the implementation of CSR practices and actions in the companies. So it is a free and voluntary choice.

All companies, regardless of their size, legal form or field of activity, can implement the CSR approach.

Some do it without realizing it!

On the other hand, some texts provide a framework for the principles of CSR. Thus, companies listed on a stock exchange, companies with more than 500 employees and companies with a turnover of more than 100 million euros are required to publish extra-financial reporting every year. Another example, multinational companies must establish and publish a vigilance plan aimed at preventing certain risks.

questions to ask

What are the three pillars of CSR?

CSR is based on three pillars which are: social, social and environmental.

What are the principles of CSR?

According to the ISO 26000 standard, there are 7 CSR principles:

  • Accountability;
  • transparency;
  • ethical behavior;
  • respect for the interests of stakeholders;
  • respect for the principle of secularism;
  • compliance with international standards of practice;
  • respect for human rights.

Is CSR Mandatory?

There is currently no legal obligation to implement a CSR policy in one’s company. On the other hand, CSR is governed by certain obligations (publication of certain information, duty of care, etc.).

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