How to prepare and implement a CSR strategy
When you want to stand out from the crowd, embrace the values of our time and initiate a sustainable conversion, you're ready to embark on a Corporate Social Responsibility approach. That said, a CSR policy cannot be improvised, and requires the collaboration and training of your professional ecosystem.
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One of the pillars of CSR is respect for people. When you want to embark on this kind of approach, it's important to invite all the company's stakeholders: employees, external collaborators, suppliers, customers, partners, etc. to think about the improvements and actions that could be put in place.
Everyone must be able to express themselves, feel listened to and involved, which is the basis for well-being in the workplace. By recognising the importance and the ideas of each individual, everyone can feel that they have a legitimate place in the company or in their interaction with it.
A CSR policy is therefore based first and foremost on brainstorming, an exchange of ideas from different points of view. Once the various wishes have been collected and taken into account, the new proposals can be discussed and evaluated.
At this point, even if decisions have to be taken later to favour certain approaches, they should be taken collectively and not arbitrarily by an executive.
CSR has three main components: environmental, social and economic. It is advisable to evaluate the practices in place within the company, in order to understand the scope for improvement in each area. Mapping the company's negative impacts gives you knowledge of them and allows you to find the manner to remedy them.
This also allows you to prioritise actions and get started quickly with changes that are easy to implement.
From an environmental point of view, the aim is to understand how the company could reduce its impact on nature by examining all the links in the chain. Whatever the nature of the company's activities, change can start with simple actions such as waste separation, employee car-sharing, the rational use of resources, etc. You can then go further and opt for green energy, ban chemical materials, promote eco-design, establish quality sourcing, etc.
On the social front, the idea is to guarantee the well-being of all stakeholders, their fair treatment and respect for human rights. This applies to employees, of course, but also to all our other partners and customers.
In practical terms, this means ensuring that workstations are ergonomically correct and well-lit, that working hours and days off are respected, checking that workplaces are safe, etc. If you want to take this aspect further, you can encourage diversity within the company and outlaw discrimination, set up your own foundation or contribute to an association defending a humanitarian cause, opt for benevolent management, guarantee transparent governance, etc.
The economic aspect covers the sustainability of wealth creation and the improvement of material conditions. In this case, the aim is to encourage the development of the local economic fabric, to opt for fair pricing on both sides so that it is decent for everyone, to encourage the circular economy, and to fight against programmed obsolescence.
Although everyone should be involved in the CSR process, it is important to designate a person or a working group to take the lead on this matter. This means that projects can be carried out over the long term, CSR can become an integral part of the company's strategy and the initial enthusiasm will not fade!
The dedicated person or team should be a point of reference, a sort of project manager for everything related to CSR. This person is responsible for coordinating the actions, planning their implementation and taking care of all the paperwork. They must also keep up to date with changes in constraints (legislation, ISO standards, etc.) in order to manage the CSR policy effectively. Raising awareness, explaining and providing information on the various actions undertaken is also part of the mission.
Finally, when managing the CSR strategy, it is important to measure the company's progress on a regular basis, to see how far it has come, which aspects need to be improved and what new directions can be taken.
Obviously, establishing and implementing a genuine long-term CSR strategy is not something that can be improvised, and when you want to do things properly, the best idea is to get some training.
Solid training in CSR, provided by an experienced professional, helps you to understand the issues, acquire the keys to drawing up an action plan and go beyond the general aspects. It will also allow you to acquire skills, think about communication and identify reliable, objective indicators to measure progress.
Whether you're a very small business or a large corporation, a few hours or just a few days' training can be all you need to develop your skills in these areas and build a genuine, coherent and sincere CSR policy that brings together all your stakeholders. This approach has several benefits, including improved brand image and employee motivation, as well as greater attractiveness to new talent/partners. This can help all kinds of companies, such as a translation company like AbroadLink.
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Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.