Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a lifetime journey. To do it right, businesses must look beyond the buzzword “sustainability” and aim at transforming it in a balancing act where all their decisions take into account the impact they have on three key aspects: People, Planet and Profit.
Doing business responsibly and taking sustainability seriously is a real safe bet for the future. So, where should you start?
1. Get out of the bubble
To develop a good CSR approach, you have to understand the bigger picture, the challenges and the context surrounding your core business, the areas where you can create (or destroy) value.
2. Act where you have impact
Define what CSR means to your core business and its context so that your actions have a real and lasting impact. Depending on your industry and type of organisation, you’ll have different sustainability topics that are relevant to you. For example, if your business doesn’t imply using a car fleet or producing its own energy from a fossil fuel source, reducing CO2 emissions might not be an impactful objective on the long run. Making sure your purchases come from sustainable providers and producers who respect natural resources and treat fairly their employees could, however, make a difference.
The important thing here is to ensure that you remain focused on responding appropriately to the expectations of your stakeholders.
3. Make CSR part of your business and strategy
Your CSR strategy has to live the reality of your core business. If it’s just another project, on the side and for the sake of compliance – there’s no use for it. You need to embark your employees and management on this journey and empower them to take initiatives and feel involved.
4. Engage with your stakeholders
Your stakeholders are entities that impact your business and that your business impacts. They could be your employees, suppliers, clients, residents, NGOs, policymakers, investors and so on.
Don’t be self-centred, identify your stakeholders and involve them in the design of your CSR strategy from the beginning. They’re the only ones who can show you the way you must take towards sustainability, so stay open to their advice or criticism.
5. Work in partnerships
Find entities or people who share your values and work together. Whether you exchange knowledge or make the most of each other’s experience, build relationships, expand your scope and aim for the greater good. Don’t underestimate the power of example, walk the talk and encourage your peers to join you on this journey.
What we think
Before embarking on this journey, it’s important to get the right mindset. You have to be willing to challenge the status quo and look at things from a different perspective. Be convinced that fighting the right fight is going to bring shared value to the People, Planet and, as a result, to your Profit. In Luxembourg, most CEOs have already started prioritising long-term responsible growth over short-term profitability. According to our Luxembourg CEO Survey, they also consider it imperative to put corporate responsibility at the core of everything they do.