A wide range of possibilities opens when it comes to adopt a CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy : reducing your environmental footprint, maintaining social equity and diversity or struggling against workplace harassment, choose the fight that suits your business best.
What’s the definition of a socially responsible business ?
In Europe, social responsibility actually encompasses a large scope of notions and concepts.
It is fundamentally voluntary action aiming at including ethical, social and environmental issues at the heart of a company’s decisions in the long run.
Here is what CSR is, according to the European Commission, which emphasizes the importance of investing more time and resources in the “human capital”.
In other words, companies have to comply with the duty to contribute - directly or not - to the well-being of the civil society and the common good.
For instance, the outdoor clothing company Patagonia is committed to contribute 10 million dollars to environmental organizations in a context of social and ecological emergency peculiar to the Trump administration, which favors private companies and industries, instead of public services and NGOs.
Another example to mention here is the french organic shop Biocoop that stated its CSR policy and engagement loud and clear through a massive petition in order to prohibit glyphosate. Nevertheless, this highly toxic substance is still used by european farmers.
Are CSR policies fundamentally selfless ?
Let’s be honest. Of course, they are not.
But still, it is easy to hope that each and every initiative of a CSR policy only expresses a company’s devotion for a good cause.
Unfortunately, CSR is often depicted as an excuse to restore one’s public image when it does not fit in people’s concerns.
In the french webzine l’ADN, an xpert in social and environmental rating, Geneviève Férone laments the lack of full transparency and engagement for the majority of CSR policies.
In addition to that statement, CSR seems more like an attractive business than a sincere commitment.
However, those who chose to take their engagement seriously are almost always winning when it comes to the consumer’s consideration and love because it provides them with unwavering credibility and leverage.
French consumers : what do they expect ?
For Geneviève Férone, french people are still not familiar with the notion of common good. Still, the situation of emergency in which the civil society is immersed in, spurs more and more
prospects to think and act through the prism of awareness and consciousness.
According to the Denjean & Associés research bureau and the Goudlink agency’s survey, french people have a clear vision of what is and must be a proper CSR policy :
- 90% of them tend to favor companies with a strong and relevant CSR policy.
- 88% of them says that a strong and relevant CSR policy could improve their opinion about a brand or a company.
- 82% of them states that a poor CSR policy could discredit a brand or a company.
Almost 100% of them are ready to boycott a brand or a company with poor practices when it comes to care about social, ethical and environmental issues.
To conclude on this statement, brands and companies have everything to gain with a strong, relevant and transparent CSR strategy.