CSR approach in business: what does it consist of?

A CSR approach enables companies to make their contribution to sustainable development. This means that they must strive to implement responsible practices not only in relation to society but also to the environment. See below for more details!

What exactly is CSR?

First of all, you should know that as early as 1950 some business leaders (in the US) believe that companies have a keen interest in increasing their positive impact on society and the environment. But it was not until the 1990s that politicians began to introduce laws that would later serve as the basis for CSR.

According to the definition of the European Commission, CSR or Corporate Social (or Social) Responsibility is “the voluntary integration of social and environmental concerns into business activities”. In addition, the CSR approach affects all companies, regardless of their size and the nature of their activity.

What are the principles of CSR?

The principles of CSR are anchored in the ISO 26000 standard. This standard highlights seven key points. Thus we find organizational governance, human rights, labor relations and conditions, the environment, fair practices, consumer issues, communities and finally local development.

Why introduce CSR?

Companies and especially industries have a direct impact on the environment through their activities. For example, we can mention the reduction of natural resources, land degradation, pollution, etc. However, these activities can also have negative effects on a societal level, such as corruption or child labor. The CSR approach offers structures the opportunity to recognize and evaluate the impact of their activities. In this way, companies can take effective measures in the short and long term.

What about the implementation of such an approach?

It should be noted that there are a few steps that need to be followed to ensure the implementation of CSR. The first thing to do is to appoint a manager (this can also be a team) who will lead the project over the long term. The second step is to do a sort of “inventory” to identify the plot points. Always start with the simplest things, like sorting through trash. Then it is a matter of involving all the stakeholders involved, including the company’s employees, but also its suppliers and its customers. The fourth step concerns communication, because you have to inform the actors about your actions and the newly established rules. Finally, you need to ensure that your actions match the expected results. If this is not the case, you have to make adjustments!

What advantages can a company derive from the CSR approach?

As mentioned above, CSR enables companies to ensure their participation in sustainable development. By adopting this approach, they can achieve several benefits that are by no means negligible:

  • More productive employees

By improving well-being at work through CSR, a company can significantly increase the motivation of its employees! You will also be proud to advance in a responsible company. In addition, they show their appreciation and this directly affects their productivity!

  • More attractive

The public today is very sensitive to environmental and social issues. Therefore, a company that practices CSR can attract and attract more customers. And more customers inevitably means more profit!

  • An asset for maintaining the employer brand

A responsible company not only attracts prospects, but also candidates. In fact, such a structure is much more likely to feature rare profiles as well as the best candidates at the end of a recruitment process.

  • A means of complying with applicable legislation

By adopting the CSR approach, companies are guaranteed compliance with certain laws. For example, we can speak of the PACTE law (Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Enterprises) promulgated on May 22, 2019. In fact, this law forces companies to take into account the environmental and social aspects of their operations.

Some concrete examples of CSR measures

Each company has its own strategy, but for some it is more difficult to identify the best practices to adopt. Here are some concrete examples of CSR measures to be implemented:

  • Switch energy suppliers by choosing ones that propose the use of renewable energy. A business can proceed entirely with the installation of solar panels or use more economical light bulbs to ensure its lighting.
  • Promoting diversity in business, e.g. B. by emphasizing equality between men and women or by favoring diverse profiles.
  • Favor an eco-friendly mode of transportation by setting up a carpooling system.
  • Minimize waste and use recycling.
  • Provide CSR training for all employees, regardless of their position in the company.
  • Review purchasing strategy by encouraging subcontractors with responsible practices.
  • Encourage remote working by providing easier access for employees.

The current situation in some countries

The implementation of CSR can differ from country to country. In the United States, CSR regulations are not as strict as in France. From a legal point of view, CSR does not receive a very clear and precise definition. For countries like India and China, on the other hand, CSR is enjoying real dynamism. In China, we are noticing that corporate liability is now becoming increasingly regulated.