What ist CSR?
The following information was compiled by the Institute for Sustainability, taking into account the EU Communication on CSR from 2011 and ISO 26000. We at the PATRIZIA Foundation would also like to share this knowledge with our website visitors, donors and partners.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the duty of a company to consider the impact of its activities on society and the environment. CSR management involves the implementation of suitable procedures and the realisation of projects in order to achieve the following goals:
- Avoidance or minimisation of negative effects on individuals,
society and the environment in connection with the company’s activities.
- Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Appropriate consideration of stakeholder interests.
- Promotion of sustainable development.
In the context of this definition, impact refers to the consequences resulting from the company’s activities, products and services. Transparency and dialogue are an important aspect of the appropriate consideration of stakeholder interests.
The last point in this definition, namely the contribution to sustainable development, goes beyond mere standards and implies that the company takes concrete measures to systematically contribute to improvements in its sphere of influence. In the best case scenario, this leads to the development of products and services that offer substantial solutions to environmental or social challenges.
Where does the term CSR even come from?
Various definitions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) still exist today, which can be attributed to different causes. The historical development of this term has meant that different aspects are generally associated with CSR in the Anglo-American region than in Europe. Even within Europe, there is not always unanimity. In the USA and the UK, CSR has generally been used for several decades to refer to activities that are often labelled as civic engagement in this country. Around 2001, the European Commission took up the term and expanded its meaning by subsuming ecological and social measures in business processes as well as in products and services under CSR. In doing so, the EU created a new perspective on CSR.
CSR definition of the European Commission
On the website of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, the European Commission’s definition of CSR is described as follows: In 2011, the European Commission published a definition for the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) and the associated framework conditions.
In the public perception, CSR has often been equated with the slogan “Do good and talk about it”. In 2011, the European Commission published a definition of the term CSR in its communication “EU Strategy 2011-2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”. According to this, CSR is “the responsibility of companies for their impact on society.”
This responsibility can only be realised if applicable legislation and collective agreements between social partners are complied with. In order to fully fulfil their social responsibility, companies should have procedures in place that enable them to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into their business management and core strategy in close cooperation with stakeholders.
ISO 26000 und ihre CSR-Definition
The international ISO standard for social responsibility was developed between 2004 and 2010, and is positioned between the two EU definitions of 2001 and 2011. This standard does not use the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR), but instead refers to “Social Responsibility” (SR), as it applies not only to companies, but to organisations of all kinds.
CSR or SR is defined in ISO 26000 as follows: It is the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that contributes to the promotion of sustainable development, health and the common good, takes into account the expectations of stakeholders, complies with applicable law and is consistent with international standards of behaviour and is integrated throughout the organisation and lived in its relationships.
Ultimately, this definition corresponds to the same principles emphasised by the European Commission in its 2011 Communication:
1. companies bear responsibility for their impact on society
2. this responsibility includes the company’s impact on society and the environment and the company’s contribution to sustainable development
3. companies should integrate and apply suitable measures in their overall organisation, i.e. implement CSR management
4. you should comply with applicable law and international standards of behaviour
The interplay between CSR and sustainable development
The ISO standard refers directly to “sustainable development”, while the EU does not initially explicitly mention sustainability in its definition. Nevertheless, in its CSR Communication of 2011, the EU confirms views that have existed since 2001, according to which companies should contribute to the promotion of sustainable development through CSR. The EU states: “Through CSR, companies can contribute significantly to the realisation of the EU Treaty objectives of sustainable development and a highly competitive social market economy.” (European Commission 2011: 4).
Management & legal regulations
Compliance with legal regulations is an important aspect that is emphasised in the definitions of the EU and ISO 26000. This emphasis stems from years of controversial discussions in which trade unions and NGOs have repeatedly pointed out grievances that are based on non-compliance with existing legal regulations or that should be better remedied by appropriate legal regulations. Both definitions therefore make it clear that compliance with legislation and collective agreements is either a prerequisite for CSR (EU) or an integral part of CSR (ISO 26000).
Although both documents use management terms in other places, such as “environmental management, risk management, supply chain management, management practices”, the term “management” is not explicitly used in the definitions. Instead, reference is made to “processes by which social, environmental, etc. Instead, reference is made to “processes that integrate social, environmental, etc. concerns into business management and core strategy” (EU) or to “transparent and ethical behaviour that contributes to sustainable development and is integrated throughout the organisation” (ISO 26000). This omission of the term “management” in the definitions is due to the long-standing efforts of business organisations to prevent an auditable management standard for CSR. Nevertheless, the practical implementation of CSR in a company requires clear responsibilities (organisational structure) and defined processes (process organisation), which are key elements of management systems.
Implementing CSR strategies with the PATRIZIA Foundation:
Together with the PATRIZIA Foundation, as a partner in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), you assume social responsibility for education projects and actively contribute to the realisation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the area of education (SDG4). Our projects are characterised by their specialisation in the creation of educational infrastructures that contribute to the long-term development of independent communities.
Together with us, you can find the right KinderHaus project that meets your corporate goals and use your social commitment to promote comprehensive CSR communication both internally and externally.
PATRIZIA School Dhoksan, Nepal
With our cooperation partner Supertecture, we are building an innovative, earthquake-proof digital classroom. The Digital Classroom with modern media equipment will be a flagship project of the PATRIZIA Foundation.
PATRIZIA School Yaoundé, Cameroon
The cooperation with the business law firm Sonntag & Partner enables 600 children in Yaoundé to continue their schooling after primary school. Unfortunately, this is still not a matter of course in Cameroon.