According to the European Commission Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the « responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society ». According to that Commission, enterprises « should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders ». That conception allows you to to understand the wide field « CSR’ represents.
Why should you care about Social Responsibility?
Consumer’s wish to shop in « socially responsible » companies is growing. It is easier today to get information about companies, their providers, their social practices, etc. Being socially responsible doesn’t have an impact only on consumers, but it has an impact on your reputation as well. In other words, being socially responsible can help you to hire the talents you are looking for. Thus, Social Responsibility is about making your company known by consumers, who can potentially become employees as well. Some companies are focused on Social Responsibility, and make it their main advantage on competitors. For instance, let’s name « Ben and Jerry’s », which uses only fair trade ingredients. On the other hand, companies that doesn’t care enough about Social Responsibility can face delicate situations, as « Nike » experienced, for instance. If a company gets Socially Responsible, it also contributes to a sustainable economic system. That is a very important issue for subsequent generations.
By undertaking socially responsible initiatives, you can contribute to making a difference in the word.
But we are sure you already care about Social Responsability, as employers, as employees, as consumers, and as citizens.
How can your company become « Socially Responsible »?
As already explained, Corporate Social Responsibility is a really wide field. There are many means to implement a Social Responsibility policy in a company. The main fields to keep in mind are the following ones :
By réducing their footprints, companies avoid unecessary costs (energy costs for instance), their improve their brand image and do good for global society.
Some companies involved in a Social Responsibility policy choose to donate to national and local charities, either money or time. But philanthropy is not about giving one hour each year, or donate « sometimes ». Getting involved in charitable initiatives is a long term project. If you really get involved, you really do something for the cause you defend. Furthermore, your brand image can be improved.
- Ethical labor practices
Having ethical labor practices means treating employees fairly and ethically. It is obviously more important (and difficult!) for international companies.
If you would like to care about Corporate Social Responsibility, don’t hesitate to look at existing standards which can be useful guidelines, such as « ISO 26000 ».