Environment and corporate social responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concerns the impact on society of productive activities to protect security, freedom and human dignity.

Socially responsible organisations can enjoy many advantages, including:

• competitive and image advantages;

• more motivated employees;

• better relations with the outside world: for example, with customers, suppliers, banks, local communities.

In the first formulation of the European Union, CSR was a completely discretionary tool for companies, which could choose which objectives of social responsibility to pursue, and in what way.

The evolution of CSR, according to the European Community, has seen the transition from tool to subsequent formulations, always voluntary, but more codified towards the respect of the principles promoted by international agencies (e.g. UN, OECD).

International standardisation bodies have codified the application of CSR: for example, the ISO 26000 standard offers a guide that goes from human rights, to working relationships, to the involvement of communities, without forgetting the environment. This ISO standard, unlike others, is not aimed at obtaining a certification on CSR: it only indicates the guidelines, then leaving the company freedom of application.

The Ministry of Economic Development also offers a tool for the evaluation and application of CSR, through the website Platform of CSR indicators, innovation and competitiveness.

In the environmental field, CSR translates into the protection of the environment, ecosystems and living species, landscape and health: it therefore recalls an ethics of sustainability in business strategies. Among the aspects of interest, CSR also concerns better communication and transparency in the environmental field, for example on the life cycle of products and on the impact on the climate.

To learn more, see:

The ISO 26000 standard on Corporate Social Responsibility.

Social responsibility of companies and associations (Ministry of Labour and Social Policies).


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