4 CSR misconceptions to deconstruct
The concept of CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility or Corporate Social Responsibility, which encompasses the application of sustainable development practices and principles by businesses, has been initiated since the late 20ᵉ century.
Despite the democratization of sustainable development, certain misconception still persist regarding the implementation of a structured CSR strategy in companies. Let’s deconstruct these ideas together!
What is the current status of CSR?
Today, since the PACTE law of 2019 the societal expectations are increasing and the CSR approach is becoming more and more considered by companies.
If, at first, it seems that large companies are the most concerned by the CSR issue, because they are subject to specific regulations and legal obligations, VSEs and SMEs also join voluntarily and without regulatory obligation.
In addition, the application of a CSR approach requires a commitment and an awareness of all the actors of the company, in particular the management, which has the responsibility to set an example to the employees.
We will discuss 4 CSR misconceptions that you may face to convince managers and employees to get involved in a CSR strategy.
What are the common misconceptions about CSR?
CSR misconception n°1: sustainable development is the responsibility of others
It is often thought that CSR or sustainable development only concerns the Other. For companies, for example, CSR is the responsibility of the state and individuals, and for the latter, it is the responsibility of the state, which is the guarantor of the proper application of laws and regulations, and the companies that pollute the most.
In reality, each actor who is part of the same ecosystem and the same planet, whether he is an individual, a company, whatever its size, or a State, is indeed responsible and must contribute to the preservation of the environment at his level. All employees are players in achieving the objectives. Collective action can therefore only reinforce efforts and encourage individual action.
CSR misconceptions n°2: CSR is just a matter of communication
Many think that CSR is applied to embellish the image of the company. Contrary to what we think, a solid responsible approach is based on commitments, concrete actions and measurable facts on the part of companies, their members and their stakeholders. To be effective, the CSR must be thought of as a strategy To be effective, CSR must be a strategy in its own right, from which an action plan can be derived. Otherwise, it may have the opposite effect: greenwashing.
CSR rating systems require evidence and quantified results on the implementation of CSR actions.
Indeed, it helps to improve the employer brand and attract and retain talent. According to a study conducted by Mercer in 2022, 96% of employees want to work for companies with a CSR policy.
CSR misconceptions n°3: sustainable development is incompatible with corporate performance
Contrary to the popular belief that CSR cannot improve economic growth and performance in general because of the additional costs of its implementation without concrete benefits, a 2016 study by France Stratégie, the General Commission for Strategy and Forecasting attached to the Prime Minister’s office, showed that the economic performance of companies with a CSR policy, is on average 13% higher than others.
It is undeniable that the implementation of social measures promoting the development of skills and a good social climate only strengthens the involvement of employees, and therefore increases their productivity.
CSR misconceptions n°4: CSR cannot be compatible with innovation and digital
Often, the advocates of sustainable development question the contribution of digital technology and innovation in finding solutions to CSR issues, since by default resources that are becoming increasingly scarce (e.g. energy via electricity, raw materials such as lithium, etc.) are needed to develop them. But this is not always true, if digital and innovation are applied according to an eco-responsible logic, they can identify new business opportunities and therefore ensure sustainability and resilience to companies.
Moreover, digital and innovation contribute to the simplification of processes and theimprovement of social cohesion within the company. They also help to reduce travel and therefore the carbon footprint of companies and employees through solutions for managing and monitoring sustainable development indicators.
As you can see, the issue of CSR can make people react and is subject to many misconceptions. But it is an important issue for companies and their employees, because it allows them to reconcile their performance AND their impact on society and the environment. It is therefore not a simple communication approach, but it implies a concrete commitment from all actors, including companies, to integrate social and environmental issues into their strategies and practices.
At SQORUS, our teams and experts support our clients in the implementation of an acculturation strategy and CSR actions, and propose innovative change management approaches to facilitate employee commitment and management involvement.
Discover our offer in change management, and if you want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us directly to discover our services and methods.
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