More than just a modality applied to the business world, CSR has become a major issue from a political point of view. CSR refers to the Social (or Societal) Responsibility of Companies.
On 21 February 2017, the National Assembly adopted a law relating to the duty of vigilance of parent companies and contractors. In concrete terms, this means that companies with more than 5,000 employees are required to carry out a CSR assessment. Until now, the process was mainly based on volunteering. Despite everything, obliged or not, companies, whether large groups or small businesses and SMEs, submit themselves mainly to the practice of CSR.
Corporate Social Responsibility is an issue at the continental level. As proof, the European Commission identifies four major axes around this question. According to this conception, CSR covers social and environmental matters; should not be separated from strategy and business operations; is based on volunteering; must especially focus on the different stakeholders of companies, both internal and external.
An important aspect of CSR is theISO 26000 standardadopted in 2010. It defines CSR as the "responsibility of an organization for the impact of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, resulting in transparent and ethical behavior " . As is the case with the classification of the European Commission, there are six axes released by the ISO 26000 standard: Human Rights; relationships and working conditions; the environment ; the loyalty of practices; consumer issues; communities and local development.
An initiative not without limits
So yes, CSR is a great way for companies to question themselves. Nevertheless, its implementation supposes to take into account some precautions beforehand. Of course, there may be obstacles, both methodologically and practically or financially. In addition, it can also disrupt the business model of a company, especially when the will of shareholders is profit-driven. For a CSR to persist in the long term, it must therefore be a sustainable part of business strategy.
Finally, if we were to retain only one name in terms of CSR, it would be that ofEcoVadis, a specialized rating agency on the issue. In addition to the environmental, social and ethical issues, the evaluation method also includes three other areas related to responsible purchasing management, products and services and Human Rights.
In all, 21 criteria are taken into account in a CSR expertise carried out by EcoVadis. A fairly important figure but as Nietzche so well said, "The Devil is in the details" . Companies that have not yet done a CSR assessment now know what to do!
Antoine Le Fur