- Comprehensible definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- Here are some examples of the areas in which CSR can be applied
- Simple overview of various CSR guidelines and principles
- Clear information on why CSR is beneficial for companies
- Practical tips for introducing and implementing CSR More info
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CSR as a component of corporate policy
It's actually quite simple: companies have the goal of making money. The fact that their pursuit of profit also has an impact on society and the environment initially seems secondary - and yet many companies have committed themselves to the guiding principle of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR). For good reason. After all, the question of how business can contribute to social and ecological progress in the world has long since gained in importance.
If you ask an online translation service what "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) means in German, the result is: "Soziale Verantwortung von Unternehmen" (corporate social responsibility). This is a little too narrow: what is meant is a broader area of responsibility - and this extends to the areas of economy, ecology and society. In other words, it refers to the economic success of a company and the associated consequences for the environment and the well-being of people.
"Corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship
"Corporate social responsibility" is similar to the idea of "corporate citizenship." This term describes civic engagement by companies that see socially responsible action as part of their corporate culture, for example by supporting schools, cultural institutions or social projects. In fact, the boundaries between "corporate social responsibility" and "corporate citizenship" are fluid. In order to avoid unnecessary confusion, however, we will continue to use the term "corporate social responsibility".
In summer 2001, the European Commission published its Green Paper. In it, the EU addresses the framework conditions for corporate social responsibility. Among other things, the 36-page paper contains the following definition of corporate social responsibility: "A concept that serves as a basis for companies to integrate social and environmental concerns in their business activities and in their interactions with stakeholders on a voluntary basis.
CSR strategy as the basis for responsible business practices
A CSR strategy is therefore not about how companies use their profits, but how they generate their profits. It is impossible to generalize what this might look like in practice - companies, the resources they use and their processes are too different. Nevertheless, a look at two "corporate social responsibility" examples helps to get a feel for the importance of corporate social responsibility.
"Corporate social responsibility" at retail companies
Let's look at the fruit shelf in the supermarket. There are avocados from Chile, pineapples from Costa Rica, mangos from Kenya... Throughout the year, we find a wide selection of fruits from all over the world - often at very low prices. But we easily overlook the fact that many goods come from developing countries where working conditions do not meet European standards. In many places there is child labor, low wages, corruption and bribery. The issue of environmental protection is also often disregarded. As a result, the industry is repeatedly criticized. Scandals and negative headlines damage the image of the companies concerned. At the same time, customers are becoming increasingly critical and demand information about the origin of goods and production methods. To meet this customer demand, many retail companies are focusing on "corporate social responsibility". For example, they are committed to promoting local social development, insisting on labor and social standards with suppliers, providing donations in kind, or championing issues such as education and sustainability.
CSR as part of corporate policy in the fashion industry
Now we are strolling through a fashion store. On special offer is a children's sweater with superhero embroidery. It's available at the bargain price of 3.99 euros. A glance at the sewn-in label reveals its origin: "Made in Bangladesh. In this South Asian country, the textile industry is an important pillar of the economy. And yet this industry in particular has repeatedly fallen into disrepute because of its poor working conditions. The Bangladeshi government has responded to this: Factory safety standards were reviewed, the fight against corruption was put on the agenda, workers were able to form unions, and wages were increased. There has also been some movement at the international level: many fashion companies have made corporate social responsibility part of their corporate policy in order to improve working and living conditions for textile workers in low-wage countries.
Corporate Social Responsibility brings companies numerous advantages
"Corporate Social Responsibility" is thus part of corporate social responsibility. But implementing CSR costs time and money. Let's remember: At the beginning, we mentioned that for capital market-oriented companies, the pursuit of profit should be the primary goal. So what exactly does a company gain from assuming social responsibility and focusing on "corporate social responsibility"?
The answer to this question is that responsible business practices give companies better access to customers, personnel and business. In addition, CSR is good for a company's reputation. At the same time, "corporate social responsibility" can - surprise! - can even help to reduce costs, for example by using production resources more sparingly. In short, a company that makes corporate social responsibility part of its corporate policy strengthens its market position.
CSR goes beyond legal requirements
In fact, there are numerous laws, guidelines and standards that set a firm framework for responsible action and sustainability in companies. "Corporate Social Responsibility" goes further than these requirements, however, and is voluntary in many cases to boot.
In Germany, only large companies with more than 500 employees are obliged to report on the impact of their CSR activities. Since 2017, they have had to meet their CSR reporting obligations by preparing sustainability reports that are similar to annual audits or annual reports. This is stated in the so-called CSR Directive, which was adopted by the EU Parliament and the member states in 2014.
Smaller companies are free to prepare an annual CSR report in addition to their annual reports as part of their non-financial reporting. In line with the motto "Do good and talk about it", they should definitely communicate their commitment to "Corporate Social Responsibility" proactively.
E-learning course on corporate social responsibility
As it turns out, corporate social responsibility is a complex issue. And the question of how companies can contribute to social and ecological progress in the world will become even more important in the future. For every company, the implementation of corporate social responsibility is an ongoing, continuous, individual process - and a major challenge.
One way to raise awareness of the issue among employees or yourself is to take an online course on CSR. Such a course is offered by Security Island. In the e-learning training, the topic of "Corporate Social Responsibility" is made understandable with practical examples. Participants in the online training learn how to create an ethical CSR and apply it in practice.
Frequently asked Question
Our courses are delivered in SCORM 1.2 format. You can thus integrate the e-learning into your existing Learning Management System (LMS) or make it available to all desired employees via our in-house Online Academy.
This depends on various factors:
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Every Security Island e-learning course can be adapted to your corporate design and your company processes. Due to our flexible production method, individualizations can also be realized at short notice.
The costs for the individualization depend on the effort of the adaptations. This can be determined in a free initial consultation.
All our e-learning courses are written by experienced specialist authors who are an integral part of Security Island's courses. For content-related queries and adaptations, they are available to our customers with advice and support.