CSR AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of the organisation for its impact on society and the environment. In this regard, CSR can serve as the basis for a business strategy and a platform for the company's interaction with the state and society. CSR directly relates to the competitiveness of business.
Elena Feoktistova, Director for Corporate Responsibility, Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship of the Russian Union of Industrialists, and Entrepreneurs, states that people's health and safety in the workplace, the responsibility of companies in the supply chain, business ethics, social investment, transparent reporting, and improvement of climate ate the priority CSR areas in world politics. In Europe and in the USA, the topic of corporate social responsibility is discussed within the framework of the sustainable development issues. All EU countries will adopt a directive on mandatory financial reporting in 2018. This means that every European company will report to the public, what impact it has on the environment and people.
However, despite the humanitarian image of such policy, the companies came to social responsibility for practical reasons. Over the past two years, the amount of assets of European organisations has increased by 25% thanks to CSR.
There are seven CSR strategies. The most popular strategy in Europe and at the same time the most strict one is excluding screening strategy. According to it, the company stops investing in assets that do not meet certain requirements. For example, 3500 power supply companies in Europe decided to stop investing in the construction of coal mines. One should consider this step not a business element, but a CSR-related measure, which unites the priorities of the development of the company, the state, and society.
“One can’t say that Russian companies do not react on environmental challenges. However, in most cases, only big organisations point this issue out in their strategies”, said Elena Feoktistova. In fact, corporate social responsibility helps regulate market through soft power largely due to attracting small and medium-sized businesses to sustainable development goals.
According to the Decree of the Russian Government №876-r dated May 5, 2017, Russia has adopted the Concept for the Development of Public Non-Financial Reporting. This is the first Russian document that demonstrates interconnection of CSR and the state’s sustainable development. As stated in the Strategy, public non-financial reporting is one of the important sources of data. On its basis, one can take decisions on the degree of achieving the indicated strategic goals at the state level. Consequently, companies will pay more attention to their activities. Their social work will be monitored by state analysts and interested citizens. This concept can become the basis for sustainable development of the entire country. In addition, consumers reacts positively to such initiatives. They will give preference to those companies whose activities are aimed at improving the life of society.
“I think that we will soon come to this. We will be largely spurred by the example of European and American organisations. Thanks to CSR, they will identify friends and foes in admission to the market”, she said.
The general principles of corporate social responsibility are applicable to any organisation. They may be transformed depending on the specifics and activities of the company, but absolutely everyone can follow them. Elena Feoktistova also notes that it is more correct to talk about CSR not only in business, but also in state structures and non-profit organisations.
Agata Korovina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov