Do you think of CSR as NTR ?
Do you not know what the acronym actually stands for, or have you looked into it, but fail to see the benefits of adopting this type of approach in your organisation? Here’s a deeper dive into the matter…
➔ Viability and sustainability: the winning combination
First, a little background to find out what really lies behind this acronym. For the European Commission, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis”. Adopting a CSR approach is therefore a way of doing your part, of having a positive impact on the world in social, economic, and environmental terms.
And for those who associate this type of phrase with idealism: rest assured, a good CSR approach is a virtuous one – for the world and for one’s organisation. Indeed, the Swiss Confederation itself believes that CSR “is a contribution by companies to sustainable development and that it can have a positive impact on their competitiveness”. It is the merging of two worlds: sustainability and viability.
➔ How do you go about it?
To join this virtuous circle, there is no need to get overly complicated about it: all companies can implement a CSR approach – whatever their size, legal form, or sector of activity.
The first step is to define the main area(s) of action in which the company is able to make a commitment. On its website, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) explains that the various commitments can include: working conditions (including health protection); human rights; the environment; the prevention of corruption; fair competition; consumer interests; taxation, and transparency.
It is also important to think globally! Adopting a CSR approach means going beyond your usual target audience and taking into account the interests of all your stakeholders (shareholders, employees, consumers, local communities, non-governmental organisations). In short: you need to look at the bigger picture and understand what society’s deep-seated expectations are, so that you can respond to these more effectively.
➔ An approach with proven advantages
Depending on the approach taken, there is a varied and colourful palette of advantages.
● Therefore, a company that has committed to taking a social responsibility stance (whether by promoting inclusion in its recruitment criteria, or by adopting a genuine approach to well-being in the workplace) will see mutual support, diversity of talent, and a sense of unity grow. In fine, this not only strengthens employee motivation, but the employer brand too!
In turn, the company becomes more attractive and recruitment easier. This is all the more valuable at a time when, in the professional world, a new trend – “climate quitting”, i.e. the voluntary departure of employees who do not identify with their employer’s climate and environmental strategy – is gaining ground. This could have a profound impact on the labour market. Indeed, a study by KPMG in the UK revealed that one in five people have turned down a job because the company’s environmental commitments did not match their values.
● Companies that have taken the path of environmental protection are reaping the rewards in terms of reduced energy consumption, lower costs, and a better reputation. And with customers and prospects increasingly sensitive to responsible action, maintaining a commitment to the environment is a winning strategy for retaining customers and attracting new ones.
In a nutshell:
Adopting a CSR strategy is more about being transparent than about being ‘whiter than white’ and doing everything perfectly. Focus on tenable commitments, ones on which you can communicate ethically.
When the three pillars of CSR are combined, there’s a real snowball effect! Ensuring the respect for the environment and the well-being of our employees has a beneficial effect from an economic point of view, as the revenues generated enable companies to invest in sustainable solutions. The circle is complete, and the cycle continues.