CCOO CASTILLA Y LEÓN'S INDUSTRIAL OBSERVATION POINT

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility

One of the tools available to companies to incorporate a social value into their activity is CSR. Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR can be defined as:

The voluntary integration by companies of social and environmental concerns in their commercial operations and relations with their interlocutors.


Through CSR, companies assume an ethical commitment regarding the promotion of social welfare - both globally and in the community in which they are based - and commit themselves to incorporate in their way of acting the concerns and expectations of the various groups of interest on which the activity of the company influences, such as customers, workers or suppliers.

It is a voluntary commitment since it goes beyond the obligations that companies legally have to comply with. In fact, CSR requires that the company take into account criteria that are stricter than those required by law in a general way.

A greater attention of the companies to these aspects that integrate the CSR, causes that the social perception varies, and in this way can revert in a greater competitiveness for these companies.

Clients can value greater involvement in the more efficient use of a company's resources, or that the company sees productivity increase by improving the work environment among other possibilities.

In addition, it guarantees a better social cohesion, encouraging values such as inclusion or equality within companies and helps create shared value with stakeholders, while implying that the organization adopting it acquires a commitment to transparency and exemplariness.

The articulation of CSR in companies as an element of competitiveness

CSR is achieving a wide acceptance among many companies because it becomes a valuable instrument of competitiveness for those. In this way, more and more companies are interested in CSR, and for example, for 2015, it was estimated that eight out of ten Spanish companies had issued some type of information or memory of Social Responsibility.

One of the main focuses of CSR - and one of the main reasons why companies take it into account - refers to the creation of greater confidence and credibility of the company, which will allow it to be more competitive, through fundamentally of better communication with interest groups. This communication must inevitably be bidirectional.

In the first place, because the company makes its adjustment to CSR criteria visible through a plan and a report that annually will reflect the degree of compliance achieved, and on the other hand, because the company must share its CSR with these interest groups, since you must know their expectations and concerns to incorporate them.

A company that wants to elaborate a CSR plan should start by analyzing which practices adjusted to the social responsibility criteria are already being carried out within the company's activity. On this internal analysis, you should also conduct an analysis of the interest groups that influence and surround the business activity to define what are the expectations of these groups with respect to the company.

Normally this double analysis is structured according to the contents of some of the existing standards for the preparation of Social Responsibility documents and plans - such as the aforementioned Global Reporting Initiative, ISO 26000, or SGE 21 of Forética among others. The number of Spanish companies that have adopted the GRI framework - the Global Reporting Initiative which is the most widely used CSR standard - had gone from 7 companies in 2002 to 186 in 2011.

The articulation of CSR in companies as an element of competitiveness

CSR is achieving a wide acceptance among many companies because it becomes a valuable instrument of competitiveness for those. In this way, more and more companies are interested in CSR, and for example, for 2015, it was estimated that eight out of ten Spanish companies had issued some type of information or memory of Social Responsibility.

One of the main focuses of CSR - and one of the main reasons why companies take it into account - refers to the creation of greater confidence and credibility of the company, which will allow it to be more competitive, through fundamentally of better communication with interest groups. This communication must inevitably be bidirectional.

In the first place, because the company makes its adjustment to CSR criteria visible through a plan and a report that annually will reflect the degree of compliance achieved, and on the other hand, because the company must share its CSR with these interest groups, since you must know their expectations and concerns to incorporate them.

A company that wants to elaborate a CSR plan should start by analyzing which practices adjusted to the social responsibility criteria are already being carried out within the company's activity. On this internal analysis, you should also conduct an analysis of the interest groups that influence and surround the business activity to define what are the expectations of these groups with respect to the company.

Normally this double analysis is structured according to the contents of some of the existing standards for the preparation of Social Responsibility documents and plans - such as the aforementioned Global Reporting Initiative, ISO 26000, or SGE 21 of Forética among others. The number of Spanish companies that have adopted the GRI framework - the Global Reporting Initiative which is the most widely used CSR standard - had gone from 7 companies in 2002 to 186 in 2011.

Aspects of business activity included in CSR

The Social Responsibility of Companies extends not only to the products or services that it puts on the market, but also to the processes that the company performs internally. Therefore, it is usual to distinguish within the CSR an external and an internal dimension, which in turn affect various spheres of action: the relationships with its workers, the management of the environmental impact or the resources that this company carries out among others.

The spheres of action that the company has to include in the evaluation of its social responsibility - at least from the perspective of CSR - are also some of those that can potentially undergo important changes in the adoption of the Industry 4.0 model.

The following diagram summarizes the spheres of activity that make up the two fundamental dimensions of CSR.

External and internal dimensions of the Social Responsibility of Company, scheme elaborated according to the green book of the CSR of 2001

The Corporate Social Responsibility is also a present objective within the Framework Agreement for Competitiveness and Business Innovation, and that has crystallized in the Plan of Corporate Social Responsibility of Castilla y León 2014-2020.

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is undoubtedly one of the main articulating axes of the Framework Agreement for competitiveness and industrial innovation in Castilla y León.

However, this awareness on the part of companies of the importance of CSR requires a special follow-up, as it is necessary to ensure that its incipient development and increasing application is carried out transparently, completely and far from spurious objectives that can transform its application in a component with market value but lacking content and objectives.

It is therefore a fundamental objective to carry out an adequate follow-up of the evolution and application of the CSR concept in Castilla y León, paying special attention to possible future developments.

Among the most determining factors for the effective implementation of these practices, the following have been highlighted:

  • Campaigns for the promotion and dissemination of CSR.
  • Commitment decided by the Administration.
  • Creation of a specific agency related to CSR.
  • Tools for implementing CSR in SMEs in Castilla y León.
  • Public instruments for the promotion of CSR in companies in Castilla y León.

In our Community we have several cases of companies and good practices regarding Corporate Social Responsibility, although there is still a long way to go. The actions undertaken to date have not had the expected impact, but it can be optimistic because there is strong support from the Administration, as reflected in the Framework Agreement.

The business class is increasingly aware of the importance of implementing these policies within companies, since in the long run it represents an improvement in their productivity and competitiveness.

We believe, therefore, that we are at a crucial moment to determine the usefulness of the criteria and tools of CSR and to transfer this knowledge to all the subjects of the Castilian-Leonese business fabric.

From Comisiones Obreras we have been promoting the identification of good practices in this field and the export of a socially responsible business model, which has crystallized in various agreements on CSR celebrated with various interlocutors such as Grupo Norte, or the experiences exported to Chile and other countries.

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de Castilla y León

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