The abbreviation CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. The concept refers to the ethical, social and environmental aspects of a company’s business activities.
Sustainor defines CSR as ‘companies’ use of sustainability to strengthen the company’s own purpose’.
Integrated into core activities
Social responsibility is not just donating an amount to a good cause once a year. This is actually how the concept originated, and this way of understanding CSR is often called CSR 1.0 today.
The modern interpretation of CSR (or CSR 2.0 as it is also called) is the integration of social responsibility into all the company’s core activities. In this way, the company both minimises its negative impact on the world and maximises its positive impact on the world as much as possible. CSR is then best understood as a strategic toolbox, which each company can use individually.
CSR improves the economic bottom line
Sustainor believes that companies exist to fulfil a purpose – which is usually to make as much money as possible. CSR is a formidable tool for optimizing each company’s economic bottom line.
What is really worth doing with CSR in a company is different from industry to industry, and company to company.
Companies often begin by looking into reducing their expenses by taking on social responsibility – that is, working with CSR. This could be done through energy optimisation, minimising waste and resource consumption, as well as improving employee passion and motivation for working long and hard for the company.
Then, a company usually assesses its risks through CSR. This could be the risk of losing its best customers by not meeting their sustainability requirements. Or the risk of getting bad press coverage on social media because a supplier has used child labour. Or the risk of losing its best employees because the company does not meet society’s common ethical standards.
Finally, more and more companies are using CSR and social responsibility to differentiate themselves in the eyes of direct customers, end users, potential employees or potential investors. All of these groups are attracted (to varying degrees) by a strong CSR profile – and the forward-thinking companies know this very well.
‘… the responsibility of enterprises for their impact on society’.
– European Commission
‘The company demonstrates social responsibility and creates value for both company and society by addressing social, environmental and economic challenges in accordance with internationally accepted principles in dialogue with its stakeholders’.
– The Danish Council for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development Goals
‘… a corporation’s initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing’.
‘Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large’.
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