Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR is a management strategy, according to which companies voluntarily take into account social interests, environmental aspects or relationships with various groups of stakeholders and in particular with employees. In business terms, being socially responsible means investing in human resources, environmental protection, relationships within the company’s environment and informing about these activities. There are a number of tools, standards and guides to help you manage and implement CSR into your corporate strategy. The most popular ones include: SA 8000 (published in 1998), AA 1000 (published in 1999) or the ISO 26000 standard published in 2010. CSR uses a number of tools, such as activities for the benefit of the local community, pro-ecological activities, development programmes for employees, courses, training; employee volunteering or social campaigns. Perhaps your organisation has already had an activity or a social campaign that was part of the CSR strategy of a given company. Before we enter into this type of cooperation, it is worth verifying whether the company’s policy is actually implemented in practice. It may be that the socially responsible management is only a declaration, and individual actions disguise the more general organisation of a company’s work, which may be inattentive to people and the planet. Again, we can fall victim to greenwashing, or, in other words, green fraud.
It is worth emphasising that the concept of CSR and the norms and standards that it represents are a very positive phenomenon in the area of business. By establishing economic relations with companies implementing CSR practices, we also contribute to the promotion of this phenomenon. By entering social and environmental criteria in tenders and assigning high scores to companies implementing CSR strategies, we promote sustainable and fair trade.
More about corporate social responsibility in Poland.
The previously mentioned practices, documents and attitudes, such as: environmental and social indicators in tenders, eco-labels, selecting companies managed in a responsible and pro-ecological manner for cooperation, have all contributed to changes in legal regulations in the past. One example is the campaign to ban animal testing of cosmetics. In 2013, after many years of struggle, the European Union introduced a total ban on animal testing of cosmetic products, including finished products, ingredients and combinations of ingredients. The regulation also prohibits introducing them onto the European Union market.
Cultural institutions are platforms for distributing knowledge with enormous symbolic and critical influence which should lobby for changes in the law. Together with good practices, such as implementing green public procurement, they can change legal regulations and make environmental and social criteria obligatory, not just voluntary. They can help establish partnerships and networks to jointly influence the shaping of pro-ecological policies in city and provincial offices and cultural departments.