CSR reporting should be of interest to all companies. All organizations must understand that they have an impact on society, the environment and the economy. This impact can be better understood if correctly quantified. Subsequently, actions can be taken to reduce the impact of companies. The purpose of CSR reporting is precisely to know what impact the company has and what actions to take accordingly. In this article we will see the definition of CSR, and how to build a CSR reporting.
What is CSR and who is involved?
Definition of CSR
CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility is the consideration by companies of the environmental, social, economic and ethical issues of their activities. On a voluntary or sometimes legal basis, CSR allows companies to report on their activities and react accordingly by implementing actions.
Corporate Social Responsability is often understood as putting sustainable development into practice within a company, and therefore its three pillars: social, ecological and economic. A company practicing CSR will therefore seek to have a positive impact on the social and environmental aspects while being economically stable and sustainable. It is important to ask ourselves in relation to which social actors this duty exists and what is the nature of the acts and consequences that the company must assume?
In relation to which social actors does CSR exist? The CSR approach is built with the company and its stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, etc.). The ISO 26000 standard has been set up to establish the guidelines of the CSR report and aims to determine the relevant areas of action for companies, and among other things the expectations of stakeholders. Indeed, certain laws require companies to disclose their annual activity reports, which must make public the social and environmental consequences of their activities. From there on, CSR will be thought of as a management, marketing or communication tool to improve the company’s image with consumers. Other stakeholders, such as shareholders, investors, etc. will then develop the CSR approach in their company, so as not to be overtaken by competitors.
There are 7 major aspects listed in the ISO 26000 standard that allow organizations to develop their CSR approach. These themes are as follows:
- Governance of the organization
- Human rights
- Relations and working conditions
- The environment
- Fair practices
- Consumer issues
- Communities and local development
Who is involved in this?
Corporate Social Responsibility concerns all companies. Indeed, morally, all organizations must understand the impact they have on society, the environment and the economy.
From a legal point of view, the PACTE law, the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation, establishes that all companies must “take into consideration the societal and environmental issues of its activity” (Article 1833 of the Civil Code). It is therefore the duty of every company manager to know its impact and to remedy it so that it is positive.
For publicly traded companies and companies with more than 500 employees or with a revenue of more than €100 million, they have an obligation to publish a CSR report, also known as extra-financial reporting or ESG reporting (Environmental, Social and Governance). Also, since 2017, with the Duty of Care Act, parent companies and ordering companies have a duty to monitor their subsidiaries and business partners (suppliers, subcontractors, etc.) to prevent any environmental, social and governance risks.
So we have seen why CSR is essential and who it concerns, but why do companies have an interest in having a CSR approach?
CSR, what is at stake for companies?
The purpose of CSR reporting is to make companies' activities transparent. From this social responsibility comes several benefits for companies.
- Better overall performance: customers and prospects are increasingly aware of sustainable development issues. A company that respects environmental and social values will be promoted.
- Better working conditions for employees and therefore better retention of talent. Similarly, recruiting talent, motivation and employee loyalty can be facilitated by the good image that CSR practices convey. This also reduces the costs associated with high turnover.
- Better parent company/supplier relationships
- Better risk management for shareholders
- Savings, by reducing operating costs, for example: by reducing water, electricity, raw material consumption, reducing waste or replacing non-renewable materials.
- Improving the company’s competitive advantage by taking into account the interests of stakeholders. The latter also have a positive influence on the company’s social and financial performance.
- Stimulating innovation, by constantly trying to reinvent products or services in line with societal and environmental issues.
It is therefore beneficial for any company to take an interest in CSR and to build a CSR report in order to better anticipate the actions to be taken.
We will talk more concretely about how to create a CSR report in the next section.
What does a CSR report contain?
CSR reporting is built with the different stakeholders. It is also a good idea to have your report evaluated by a third party, and to have certifications, labels and accreditations that guarantee the realization of your actions.
Very often, a CSR report is built first with the presentation of the company and its stakeholders. Then, the presentation of the axes of engagement with the announcement of the objectives to be achieved. Then, there is the presentation of the past year's results, the explanation of the differences with forecasts, etc. Finally, we need to make links with existing standards for more credit: charters, the various ISO 26000, 20121, etc.
CSR reporting consists of the development of 3 themes:
The social theme with:
- the organisation of work,
- social relations,
- health and safety,
- diversity and equal treatment,
- compliance with International Labour Organization conventions
The environmental theme with:
- general policy,
- pollution and waste management,
- sustainable use of resources,
- climate change,
- protection of biodiversity
The societal theme on societal commitments in favor of sustainable development with:
- the territorial, economic and social impact of the company’s activity,
- the relations with the persons or organisations interested in the company's activity,
- subcontractors and suppliers,
- the fairness of practices
- human rights
The challenge of CSR reporting is to focus on the core business and keep the indicators correlated to the business.
If you want to learn more about how to make efficient dashboards it’s here. If you want to know how to do a good reporting it’s here!
CSR reporting is an essential tool for companies. We wrote a blog article. It helps to reduce the negative impact of these on the environment and society. CSR reporting is also a beneficial tool for the competitive advantage of organizations and helps to satisfy the different stakeholders.
Create your own CSR reporting with Powerslide.