Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

The Future of CSR: Reporting In Order To Guarantee A Responsible Consumer Behavior

While writing all the blog entries, we always came across the topic of us as consumers being responsible for a company’s behavior, too. We can have a major affect on businesses by boycotting products. But how can we even know, which information is true and which not?

CSR reporting is a very important aspect that needs to be looked at when we talk about consumer responsibility. Companies need to be transparent, need to publish information about their business and supply chain. This way people, who already have realized their importance in making the world more sustainable, can get information and therefore can influence their consumer behavior. But can we really trust these reports? As long as there is no standardized way of reporting it will be difficult for stakeholders to compare and decide, which company one wants to support.

“The corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting community is now calling for standardized Integrated Reports – reports that combine the financial information of annual reports with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) data traditionally included in CSR reports”, argues this article.

Furthermore, Robert G Eccles, a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School explains:

„Integrated reporting is a simple idea, but it is an idea whose time has come. Voluntary filing programs are an easy and practical way to make this idea the common practice in companies’ external reporting. It is now up to regulators to make it happen.“

And then it is very fascinating to see young, innovative people deal with the aspect of „how can customer easily access the information provided in these reports? Sometimes you don’t have to go far to find a solution. A student of the Berlin School of Economics came up with the “Sustainable Traffic Lights”. It is an App called WeGreen for mobile phones, which allows you to take a picture of the barcode of a product. You then get information about the CSR report of the company’s product on your phone.

It is a very innovative idea and maybe this will work hand in hand with the trend for integrated CSR reporting. Thus it will lead to a more sustainable and environmental friendly behavior of customers.

We cannot assume that companies by themselves will change their profit-oriented behavior; but by building up some pressure we maybe will lead them in the right direction!

Sources:

http://brownflynn.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/the-future-of-csr-reporting-integrated-reports/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-g-eccles/going-green-in-annual-rep_b_593957.html

http://www.wegreen.de/

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CSR Is No Crisis Management

In times of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico it is important to realize that CSr does not equal crisis management. As this article states, CSR needs to be seen as follows:

„CSR policy is to identify environmental, social and governance risks and prevent disasters from happening in the first place.“

So this means in the case of BP they should now treat the problem in a way it will avoid further problems in the future. Transparency is a big and important word in this context. And if you think about the fact that BP used be in some major CSR rankings and called it a company that takes care of its environment, I found this video quite interesting. Especially if you keep in mind the earlier mentioned definition of CSR. Prevent disaster. Identify environmental, social and governance risks.
The oil spill in 1979 could have been a warning fort he oil drilling industry. Back than they tried the same technology to try to stop the oil spilling out. Nothing of what BP has tried so far worked back than. Why would it today?
And as this website shows and argues, BP is a great example fort he fact that CSR is no optional thing for companies. It is a must.

To have CSR or not? That is the question.

The Forbes article titled ‘Is Corporate Social Responsibility Responsible?’ really interests me. It gave another perspective on CSR. It states that the concept of corporate social responsibility deserves to be challenged. It mentions that being politically correct has concealed the important and primary business point. It is definitely correct that companies should be responsible and ethical when they make their products and be in compliance with laws and regulations. However, if they use their assets for social purposes rather than for making a profit for their shareholders, it is also regarded as being irresponsible.

I agree with the author of the article. Being corporate social responsible means being transparent about your business and letting the public know your companies’ operations. The main function of a business is indeed to make money and not to be socially responsible to society. But being responsible is also important. These conflicting views make it an interesting topic which requires a look into both viewpoints, from the company’s perspective as well as the society’s perspective. It is indeed a dilemma for the company for it has to make a decision, whether to have greater profits or to portray a better image by engaging in CSR practices.

BP and CSR: A Tragedy?

The oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico has been going on for about two month now and still we have not heard about any significant steps towards a solution of this problem.

BP is one of the biggest companies and also was one of the companies that really made an effort in CSR and, as say claimed, were doing some good work concerning social and environmental aspects.

“BP Plc has spent up to US$125 million annually on its corporate social responsibility CSR campaign to enhance its socially responsible image in its transition from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum since 2000. BP Plc made monumental investments in solar energy and after a string of acquisitions BP Plc even became the largest maker of solar panels in the world.” Furthermore they allow shareholders to get information through their online performance about sustainability.

Today criticism is everywhere and BP and its CSR strategy have experienced a mayor downfall if it comes to its success. Today with the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico „The speculation that this could result in a collapse of the company is becoming warm in recent days. BP have been removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index this week. The index exists as a benchmark stock measurement for the companies that excel in CSR.“

Tuff times are ahead for BP. But at least they still proclaim to be engaged in a lot of social and environmental topics. But somehow this seems a bit contradicting and makes their CSR efforts look very inefficient and dubious.

Sources:

http://news.suite101.com/article.cfm/bp-goes-from-beyond-petroleum-to-big-polluter-in-csr-setback-a235924#ixzz0qLx2zU00

http://www.miratelinc.com/blog/has-bp-mismanaged-their-csr-down-to-the-deepest-depths/

Proposed Outline #1

Date Topic/ Content
17 May 2010 BP – Who’s responsible for the current situation?
24 May 2010 BP – Control & Management of CSR, Future aspects
31 May 2010 *Internal CSR – case studies
7 June 2010 *Internal CSR
14 June 2010 *External CSR – CSR Strategy
21 June 2010 External CSR – Sustainability, Long-Term Solution

 

*- Subject to changes according to development of new current issues

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About Us

We are a group of students studying in HWR who are interested in Corporate Social Responsibility. In this blog, we will be exploring issues and current news regarding CSR. So join us on our journey and learn more about this interesting topic (: