Frequently Asked Questions
great to hear from you and interesting topic you have chosen for your book. I will be happy to contribute a chapter. It will have to be in English, as my Arabic is confined to names of food and saying hello ;-)
So best you write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Hi, thanks for the question and sorry for the late answer, had some technical issues. I think the underlaying problem within your question is the misunderstanding of the term CSR. CSR is about "how" you do your business. It has nothing to do with charity, philantrophy or sponsoring. It is about dealing with the impacts of your business. So, the short answer is yes, of course. Training your engineers for employability is a management instrument to have talented, trained staff available when needed. Hope that helps
Thank you for your Interest in participating in the CSR Company International. Regarding participating in India, please refer to the email address email@example.com and you will e directed to the appropiate person. Thanks
Hi there! Giving job opportunities to fresh engineers or Diploma graduates as such is not CSR. The issue is if these people have undergone an education that the companies needs, that it maybe has itself initiated and supported and that covers deficits on the work market otherwise the company would not be able to fill these positions. Job creation is only potentially a CSR activity, no per se. It is when for example people from vulnerable groups are hired - by equal qualification of course - which otherwise would not have a job chance because of active or passive discrimination or religious segregation or so on.
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is a Company's Social Responsibility. Social responsibility as defined by ISO26000 is:
The responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that
- contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society;
- takes into account the expectations of stakeholders;
- is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and
- isintegrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships.
Note 1: Activities include products, services and processes
Note 2: Relationships refer to an organization's activities within its sphere of influence
Note 3: Sphere of influence is the area across which an organization has the ability to affect decisions or activities, where Area can be understood in a geographical sense, as well as in a functional.
Note 4: Stakeholder is individual or group that has an interest in any activities or decisions of an organization
While the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – generally used to describe businesses’ efforts to achieve sustainable outcomes by committing to good business practices and standards - is relatively new, the actual practices and related policies are not. The key roles and responsibilities are often discussed within the context of business, society and the environment.
While most businesses compete either on price, level of quality or service as their competitive advantage, non-profit organizations often use efficiency, values of service or societal benefit to generate their competitive advantage, and governments. Can your organization or direct competitors tap on additional economic, environmental or social advantages that can be used for competitive purposes, such as community support, better brand identity, reduced waste disposal costs or better employee working conditions?
Today consumers, investors, governments and even employees have become more sophisticated and more aware of good corporate behaviour, or lack thereof. In this new business environment, a company's reputation has become one of its most valuable assets, and CSR has become one of the key components of corporate reputation.
Positive CSR experiences build confidence and goodwill with stakeholders. Many organizations have developed clear CSR efforts as strategic branding and management approach in achieving a win-win outcome. Their number continues to grow. What about yours?
CSR is increasingly being seen as an important and integral part of normal business operations. So how does responsible business help to enhance business operations in achieving a sustainable outcome?
It creates Shareholder Value
Investors are becoming more concerned to invest in companies that act with good corporate governance and social responsibility. Increasingly, a company’s performance as a responsible business is key to its financial and stock market standing, helping to protect it from instability and share price volatility.
Increased Revenue Base
CSR can boost factors that drive revenue in important ways. CSR initiatives and cause-related marketing can build reputation and goodwill among suppliers and customers. Employees who identified with the social mission are likely to be motivated, committed and more prepared to make sacrifices as a team member.
To maintain and attract new customers is of basic importance for a company’s reputation. Consumers today are more sophisticated, becoming more selective and sensitive to a company’s image and CSR efforts. A distinctive CSR profile serves as a strategic branding tool in differentiating from competitors.
The efficiency of a business is about productivity and effective use of resources. CSR can help to increase efficiency through environment conservation and recycling initiatives as part of eco-efficiency strategy. Positive management-employee relations are also crucial in bringing about good customer service, productivity and product innovation.
Better Access to Capital
Access to capital enables a company to grow and make timely investments. Companies with a good CSR standing are likely to secure equity and debt capital with more ease. The growth emphasis in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) is a clear indication of likely future trends.
Human & Intellectual Capital
A company’s human and intellectual capital is one of its most valuable assets. Good workplace conditions and relations can help a company to attract, keep and develop human capital, keeping operations and staff morale high. Community involvement can play a complementary role in the development of new responsibilities and skills as well as encouraging participation, sharing and team spirit.
Lower Business Risk
Companies are being held increasingly accountable for their actions today. Such business risk could affect reputation, access to capital and even long-term viability in some instances. Proactive dialogue with external stakeholders can help to foster understanding in pre-empting and minimizing the repercussions.
Is CSR for SMEs?
Pursuing responsible business practices can help any business enhance reputation and standing in building trust from stakeholders, generating sales, boosting enthusiasm and product innovation. It can be important to the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
For so many, social responsibility is just a new way to describe something they do already. In this context, CSR does not aim to reinvent the wheel. It is about building on existing practice, maximising its impact and making a link between CSR and your core business activities.
In many instances, SMEs are ideally placed to pursue such responsible workplace practices. SMEs often have long-standing contacts in servicing a local area and are well placed to understand and benefit from the community relations. Being more flexible and less formal than large companies, they can direct resources to CSR efforts more effectively. Certain CSR trends are already a part of SME culture. For example, SMEs in certain sectors are more likely to have family-friendly workplace practices in a less bureaucratic setting.
Your CSR Story?
CSR can involve almost any aspect of a company's operations. It ranges from workplace safety, family-friendly practices to community contribution. Every company has a story to tell that sets it apart. It is important for every company to find its story for effective communication to its stakeholders.
A company that is considered a good corporate citizen is one that demonstrates commitment towards socially responsible business practices and fair operations. We want to learn more and share positive CSR experiences. Do you have a CSR story or sustainability write-up to share with us?
By addressing these core subjects and issues, and by integrating social responsibility within its decisions and activities, an organization can achieve some important benefits, including:
- encouraging more informed decision making based on an improved understanding of the expectations of society, the opportunities associated with social responsibility and the risks of not being socially responsible;
- improving its risk management practices;
- enhancing the reputation of the organization and fostering greater public trust;
- improving the organization’s relationship with its stakeholders;
- enhancing employee loyalty and morale, improving the safety and health of female and male workers and impacting positively on an organization’s ability to recruit, motivate and retain its employees;
- achieving savings associated with increased productivity and resource efficiency, lower energy and water consumption, decreased waste, the recovery of valuable by-products and the increased availability of raw materials;
- improving the reliability and fairness of transactions through responsible political involvement, fair competition, and the absence of corruption;
- preventing or reducing potential conflicts with consumers about products or services;
- contributing to the long-term viability of the organization by promoting the sustainability of natural resources and environmental services; and
- contributing to the public good and to strengthening civil society and institutions.
Hi! Thanks for the question. The role of CSR in Multinational corporations is of course dealing with the impacts the company has on society, the environment and the economics. Only when recognizing and dealing with these impacts the MNC will be able to improve its performance and maybe find new ways to deal with things, be it technological, be it in process, be it in its supply chain etc. Most important is also to take the expectations of stakeholders into account - if the MNC does not meet the expectations it will loose its license to operate, and then we are really talking money.
So, this is not a side thing one does if somebody is underchallenged in his job, but core management responsibility, as it secures income of the company. Wal Mart is a good example, greening their supply chain saved them 200 Million USD in reduced transport costs, that is a lot of money, even for Wal Mart, and has nothing to do with a spleen of some tree hugger manager at the company but is core business. Improving the financial bottom line!
Good question and getting increasingly relevant. If one understands CSR as a strategical management tool, and not as philantropy, then there is no imediate need for governments to monitor, but rather to create a supportive environment were businesses can develop CSR into their own business processes and get rewards for that, maybe not only by the customers and the employees but also by government by incentives. This would give the CSR idea a great kick, as a lot of societies are heavily relying on governments approval or disapproval of things, rather than just doing what is good for business. It will take a while until this notion will change, so up to then, it is less a monitoring position than rather a positive incentive giver role of the government. And this positive incentive can well be that government, government agencies and government owned business implement CSR as first movers to give a good example!
This is a very basic question. Hope I will touch on what you mean! Activities means, integration into the daily business of the organisation. So there are no necessarily specified general CSR activities, but rather according to the organisation taylor made, so to mitigate impacts and deal with stakeholder expectations. Hope this helps as far as it can.
I am not sure what the question is but my guess is that there is role of government to create incentives in such a manner that would create a proactive legal and social environment for CSR. There definitly is that role, but I would not necessarily rely on only the state to do something, because in some cases this would mean to wait for ever. There is a responsibllity also of the sociiety at large, business and civil society, just as media to create such a proactive environment and also to push government to become proactive. It would be an easy excuse if one would move everything just to the government and if they do not do anything, well, then we also do not have to do something.
I guess the question relates to how many areas of social responsibility a multinationa company covers. Well, depends on what it is doing. The first check that a company or any kind of organisation for that matter has to do is the materiality check, so what are its major impacts, where does it have relevant and significant issues to deal with and secondly but equally important, what are the key expectations of stakeholders. Only then one can define the scope of areas that a company, MNC or SME has to cover. Additionally one would in a second step then look at the sphere of influence, meaning, the responsibility does not end at the factory gate but goes beyond that if there is influence on other entities, such as daughter companies or companies which depend mostly on us as buyer or other relationships of influence. Then the responsibility extends also to these.
Hope this answers your question.
Hi, nice question. Not sure what you exactly mean with "CSR outsourcing". There are different takes on this. Lets start with outsourcing the CSR - understood as community involvement - one could create a foundation outside of the company to handle the community issues. The costs for such a foundation vary from country to country and range from maybe 10.000 USD to a million, dependant on the jurisisdiction and of course even more so on the proposed work plan for that foundation.
If you consider outsourcing as having a consulting company supporting you in your CSR exercises, implementing, stakeholder engagement etc. most consultants work on day rate basis and it will depend on the scope of work that has been defined at the beginning of the job how long this work will take.
Hope this clarifies
Uff, these are quite some questions ;-)
Yes, of course one can measure the impacts. There are different tools, starting from conducting employee surveys, customer satisfaction surveys and similiar tools. Further of course you can measure the financial impacts for example regarding the training of your employees and additional qualifications they achieved versus reduced turnover rates, longer staying in the company etc.
There is no ideal way of doing CSR as CSR is very individual to each organisation. It depends what are the impacts of the organisation, what are the expectations of stakeholders, what are the values of the organisation, what strategy is it following etc. Mainly it is about identifying the material issues an organisation has and how to deal with them. The tool to help you identify them and deal with them is ISO 26000.
This is a difficult one because companies tend not to disclose their CSR assessments, mainly not to reveal their weaknesses to the competition. It is not so much the general public but the competitors who could read out the weaknesses and build on that. So theses assessments are confidential.
But of course if a company reports properly on their CSR activities, then you will be able to find a lot of information but admittetly especially in India a lot of CSR reports are more PR exercises than real stakeholder dialogue, which they should be.
Hope this helps
Hi! Thanks for the question. If you run a coaching institute then it would make great sense to include CSR into your curruculum as the demand for trained people in this field is growing fast. We offer a number of trainings in this field, so depending on where you are located there might be some synergies.
All the best
Hi! Yes, indeed we do! We have a broad variety of trainings on issues related to CSR from a half day awareness event to a 2 year post graduate Master of Science in CSR and Ethical Management course. Mostly we sell our 2 or 3 or 5 days courses turning around CSR Strategy building, CSR Communication, ISO 26000 expert training and so on. You will find all this on our website.