What benefits from CSR? A Point of View from ‘CSR Europe’

On its website, CSR Europe addresses this FAQ through different angles. Simply click on one of the links if you want to access the full article. Otherwise, I just summarised key findings below each link. I already touched this topic in earlier CSR related posts but I wanted as well to present a European organisation focused on this matter. On the other hand, you have to know: I am desperately searching for an European standard of measuring and reporting CSR: a standard survey or questionnaire for CSR self-assessment Am I looking forward to the impossible? … well if anyone knows one, I’ll appreciate.

CSR Europe is a non-profit organisation that promotes corporate social responsibility. Its mission is to help companies achieve profitability, sustainable growth and human progress by placing corporate social responsibility in the mainstream of business practice. CSR Europe is a European business network of CSR professionals based upon the sharing of CSR solutions and shaping the modern day business and political agendaon sustainability and competitiveness.

  • Consists of over 60 leading multinationals
  • Reaches out to a further 1400 companies through 18 National Partner
    Organisations
  • Began as an initiative in 1995 by the European Commission President
    Jacques Delors and Senior European Business Leaders

Last bit to be aware of, CSR Europe is offering to its members an access to a ‘CSR Europe e-marketplace’: This site provides exclusive access to more than 200 CSR solutions and contacts, submitted at the occasion of the first European CSR Marketplace (March 3, 2005) (More).

So, What are benefits for a CSR-proof company?

  • Why should companies care about their social and environmental responsibilities?
    • CSR Europe believes that companies have both moral and financial reasons to practice CSR. The moral ones tend to be quite clear, while the financial ones are still more difficult to measure. They are usually referred to as the “business case for CSR”.
  • What do CEOs think of corporate social responsibility (2002 poll)?
    • 94% of company executives believe the development of CSR strategy can deliver real business benefits.
    • 1 out of 3 international executives think that social responsibility initiatives will increase sales.
    • 71% of CEOs would sacrifice short-term profitability in exchange for long-term shareholder value when implementing a sustainability programme.
  • Is there really a link between CSR and a company’s financial performance?
    • Yes, in 60-70% of cases, according to various studies.
    • Example: Companies with a public commitment to ethics perform better on 3 out 4 financial measures than those without. These companies also have 18% higher profits on average. (Source: Institute of Business Ethics, 2003)
  • How profitable is socially responsible investment?
    • It is not possible to give one figure answer. However, some key indicators are demonstrating a growing-fast interest and CSR-recognised-value from investors, shareholders, consumers and employees . Trend is to invest and pay more for CSR-proof businesses.
  • Can CSR improve a company’s reputation and brand value?
    • Yes: In today’s marketplace, the importance of brand image and reputation are increasingly seen as a company’s most valued asset. It is estimated, for example, that 96% of Coca Cola’s value are intangibles – reputation, knowledge and brand. For Kellogg’s this equals 97% and for American Express 84%.
  • How can CSR reduce operating costs?
    • Using the CSR as part of a corporate business strategy can result in high efficiency in operations, for instance, improved efficiency in the use of energy and natural resources;
    • Reducing costs through waste reduction, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and resource productivity – for example Dow Chemical Co – have committed themselves to reduce production of 26 toxic chemicals. The company’s €3.1 million investment is saving the company €5.4 million per year.

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