Drivers of sustainability

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept that has been defined differently and falls under many umbrellas, yet its concept to an extent remain the same world, being that corporations can no longer grow economically if their growth is not shared with society. This in other words means that businesses accountability has shifted away from the singular of shareholders and investors to a wider picture bringing in a wide range of stakeholders. Therefore businesses responsibilities have shifted away from simply making profits and moved towards making sure that any profits made address environmental protection, the wellbeing of employees, the community and civil society as a whole, both now and in the future.

Throughout the years there have been many drivers pushing forward CSR and expanding the urgency worldwide. To date the most important drivers of CSR have been:

1. Demands for disclosure

Stakeholders nowadays, being customers, suppliers, employees, communities, investors, and NGO’s demand for corporate disclosure!

2. The ever changing role of governments

In the past, governments have relied on legislation and regulation to deliver social and environmental objectives in the business sector. Governments have been puzzled with how to tackle CSR and generally if it an area that they can indeed influence, thus, this confusion has led to the discovery of voluntary and non-regulatory initiatives instead.

3. Increase in ethical consumption

Countless of surveys prove everyday that ethical consumption is on the raise, showing how more and more conscious consumers are either rewarding or punishing companies based on their Corporate Social performance.

4. Rising investor pressure

Investors are changing the way they assess companies’ performance, and are making decisions based on criteria that include ethical concerns as investors reputation is at stake also if it invests in companies who do not consider the triple bottom line in their decision making!

5. Retaining and attracting employees

In today’s business market, employees not only place importance upon their paycheck but also upon the company’s philosophies and principles, in order to find a perfect match!  This shift in employee principles has brought as a result to improve working conditions.

6. Supply chain

Nowadays suppliers expect business to be corporately responsible and take into consideration among others issues related to labor practices, working conditions, fair payment across the supply chain and through the life cycle of the product/service. In order to protect the quality of services as well as reputation, suppliers and businesses as a first step, have moved into developing and complying codes of conduct.

Positively, the concept of CSR has been integrated within businesses agenda, yet for some it still remains a theory which needs to become visible action. Two things businesses need to acknowledge is that transparency and dialogue can help to make a business appear more trustworthy, whilst at the same time brings up and all organizations standards (which is the ultimate goal). To help businesses improve their CSR efforts there is increasing recognition of the importance of public-private partnerships in CSR. For instance, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) ultimate mission is to improve the comparability and credibility of sustainability reporting worldwide. For this reason the GRI created a common framework for reporting on economic, environmental and social impacts. CSE, organizational stakeholder and approved training provider of GRI, can provide you with a number of tailor made services which will meet your specific needs and expectations.

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