According to the 2011 understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility developed by the European Commission, CSR is defined as: “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. Furthermore this document states that: “Respect for applicable legislation, and for collective agreements between social partners, is a prerequisite for meeting that responsibility. To fully meet their corporate social responsibility, 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, with the aim of:
- maximising the creation of shared value for their owners/shareholders and for their other stakeholders and society at large;
- identifying, preventing and mitigating their possible adverse impacts”.
Hence, modern CSR meets social sustainability in the following ways. It:
- Measures benefits created by social responsibility in addition to those calculated with traditional financial measurement;
- Creates a future-proof business;
- Increases enterprise competitiveness;
- Provides a better management of risks and opportunities;
- Complies with industrial, social and legislative expectations;
- Fulfils stakeholder expectations;
- Builds consumer awareness;
- Is based on sustainability reports and case studies;
- Develops a holistic business case, business plan and operation plan;
- Identifies short, medium, and long term targets;
- Promotes transparent, clear and credible communication;
- Reduces conflicts, while building trust and engagement;
- Acts on human resources, supply chain, community and environment;
- Is normal everyday work and is not a new burden on companies;
- Is transferring personal ethics and values in business;
- Is dynamic, practical, flexible and adaptable;
- Is open to continuous learning, active listening, and creativity;
- Refers to international guidelines.
Corporate Social Responsibility and the way you measure it must be aligned with the company culture, policy, vision and strategy.
Innovation and competitiveness are no longer about developing a new product, process or result. They are also about developing a new business model that is sustainable both for companies and society in the long term.
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
European Commission Website