Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is no longer just a good-to-have-for-our-brand-management activity. What in the investment community is labeled ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) compliance is by the corporate community responded to by capable CSR programs and the recruiting of young generation top talents is soon to depend on the recruiting organization’s position in sustainability matters, yet another core part of any CSR strategy. Inzyon CSR monitor puts a combination of global Sustainability Intelligence and compliance analysis tools at your fingertips.
In a world of growing sustainability concerns as well as regulations, companies need to step up their CSR activities. Without a well-designed, and equally well communicated, CSR program, companies may thus, in the not too far future, find themselves denied access to the financial markets as well as current pools of tomorrows top designers and senior managers. It may feel like a long term, rather than short term, challenge but the net of sustainability regulations are tightening by the year and when it comes to the young generation’s awareness on CSR matters it is just to visit any social media discussion to realize that it is already now a key concern. As it seems though, a real challenge for many corporate organizations is to switch the CSR focus from being an auxiliary task to become a core task of strategy management.
CSR does not benefit from a clear unambiguous definition unanimously agreed upon by the world of businesses. What can be said with certainty though is that the concept is far from new. It dates back to at least the early 1900’s and during the 1950s a man called Howard Bowen conceptualized the term in his book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman. At that time, it had a clear focus on workers situation. Since then, CSR has developed into a corporate management discipline entailing most of a company’s external impact on societies’ economy, social matters and environment. These are but a few links to texts that, slightly more in-depth, portrays CSR and its history:
During recent years a debate has unsurfaced on the topic of whether there is a contradiction between CSR and profitability. Some even claim that CSR need to become the prime goal for major corporations while others claim that if profits do not come first, there will be no resources to focus on CSR.
As it seems, this debate is rather rapidly be silenced and the means to do so is spelled the financial and investment community. In short, the message to companies of today is “unless you turn your processes into sustainable operations, we will not, and are by official bodies regulated not to, invest in your shares and have your assets as holdings in our portfolios”. With a letter like this from the CEO of the world’s largest asset management company, to the senior management of its holdings, no further debate is needed as it will now affect every single company. From now on, no company management can hope to optimize profits over competitors based on flawed (and cheap) CSR strategies as all companies will need to participate and adapt.
This is all very good news for the world and its population but what does it all mean? What does a management team of a company need to do in order to comply with all the expectations on CSR programs? The world of impact reporting guidelines, and CSR advice, currently seems endless and for company management to navigate in this haze is a challenge. For an introduction to the word of standards, see Inzyon Sustainability Classification Framework. There are numerous tools and services (similar to ERP systems and alike) targeting companies standardized reporting of CSR activities and fulfillment but what about the crafting of the strategies that forms the basis for the actions to subsequently be measured and reported?
It is probably fair to say that, as of now, it is the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, that is the most comprehensive initiative and joint understanding to that end. At Inzyon we are fully committed to the UN sustainable development goals (the SDG’s), see our own CSR program.
For the general world of CSR we aim at being an integral industry supplier, enabling sustainable corporation’s efforts to comply with regulations and support actions in society towards achieving the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
Read more about the CSR monitor here.