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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the social and environmentally orientated responsibility of a corporation. The concept is that a business can be an element of the social system, can profit from resources such as human capital and nature itself, and therefore, should set measures from which human kind and the environment can profit. The objective is a sustainable market economy.

The release of the “Green Paper”, Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility in 2001, brought this topic to the forefront in the EU. The European Commission sees CSR as a concept for achieving the Lisbon Strategy objective, which is “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.” (See “Report from the Commission (COM 2002) 347 final"). The commission called a CSR Forum in 2002 with members of business. This forum should work on suggestions on how to proceed.

The CSR definition of the EU is as follows:

“Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR is a concept, which serves as a foundation for corporations to integrate voluntary societal and ecological concerns with their business’s activity and with the relationship to their stakeholders.” Stakeholders include the shareholders (the owners), the employees (including managers, i.e. employment and security claims), the customers (i.e. quality and reliability claims), the suppliers, the capital market (as well as creditors) and the state (i.e. tax claims and environmental protection claims), nature (raw materials, waste control) and the public (parties, unions, media, NGOs, etc.)” (Source: Wikipedia)

According to a study from Arthur D. Little, companies realize the advantages of CSR implementation in the following areas:
  • Reputation and corporate image
  • The improvement of risk management
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Innovation and organizational learning
  • Capital access
  • Financial performance
78% of Europe’s top managers believe that only through full integration of CSR practise, can a company be competitive and almost 70% say that these measures are what make profitability viable.

But what do only socially responsible companies do now?

They take care of ...
  • The security of society’s existence
  • Maintenance and development of social resources (extended training and life-long learning)
  • Health and safety in the work place
  • The equal treatment of employees (men and women, people with disabilities/disadvantages, race and ethnic origin, sexual conduct)
  • Observing human rights (also in the purchasing of products)
  • The development of environmentally-friendly products
  • The development of environmentally-friendly production processes