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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to companies considering the societal and environmental impact of their actions. This approach makes companies face up to their responsibilities, as their strategy must now be built whilst respecting the environment and society. For businesses, CSR helps create value recognised by all of its stakeholders. It enables them to respect their ecosystem, prepare for the future and to better control risks.

The origins of the concept of CSR

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility was born in the 1960s, under the impetus of civil society. It pushes companies to take into account the impact of their strategy, activities and management on the environment and society. This consideration must go through all of their stakeholders: managers, employees, customers, suppliers, subcontractors, shareholders, etc.

CSR on a European and Gobal scale

For the European Commission, CSR indicates “voluntary integration of social and environmental concerns by companies within their commercial activities and their relations with their stakeholders”.

At a global level, a big leap was taken in 2015 with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations. These objectives underline the role and responsibility for companies in the implementation of a more sustainable growth, both for people and the environment. CSR therefore becomes their contribution to the issues and challenges of the sustainable development.

The contribution of the PACTE law in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility

In France, a national platform for global actions for CSR was created in 2013.  Its role is to formulate “recommendations on social, environmental and governance issues raised by corporate social responsibility”.

A new step regarding CSR was formalised within the PACT law (May 22, 2019). The main contributions of the PACTE law are:

  • amending the Civil Code so that the corporate purpose of each company takes into account social and environmental issues and the possibility, for companies that so wish, of incorporating their purpose in statuses;
  • the creation of the “mission-driven enterprise” status.

How does a CSR approach work?

A CSR approach can be broken down into several key areas:

  • governance: non-hierarchical decision-making, dialogue with each of the stakeholders, etc.
  • environment: better management and reduction of waste, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, eco-design of products, etc.
  • social sphere: quality of work life, equality and diversity, inclusive and responsible management…
  • economic sphere: sustainable commercial practices, ethics, customer satisfaction…

CSR concerns all companies and they can engage in an approach of this type, regardless of their sector of activity, size or status.

What are the benefits of a CSR approach?

If well structured, a CSR approach in business makes it possible to achieve greater agility and performance (economic, social and environmental), thanks to better anticipation of risks, a better controlled supply of raw materials, the establishment of innovative partnerships, and the trust by employees and investors…

If CSR initiatives were already starting to gain ground before the Covid-19 pandemic, the crisis has given them a fresh importance. Companies engaged in a CSR approach (described by some companies as “altruistic”) have moreover, for the most part, withstood the crisis better because they have better control of the risks inherent in their activities.

CSR and the emergence of “responsible” management

Voluntary and ambitious, in order to be successful a CSR approach must be led by responsible managers. Their mission? Contribute to making companies more inclusive and capable of responding to the major environmental, social and societal challenges they face.

Management must therefore undergo its transformation to allow the company to adapt to its new ambitions. “Green” leaders, with an awareness of sustainable development, will have to manage and control environmental change, to structure the directions linked to these new objectives, to foster a new state of mind, to increase awareness among teams… where the need for creating “responsible” management comes from. Hierarchical organisational models are less suited to this approach and will gradually give way to greater freedom for employees, encouraging initiative and innovation.

NEOMA Business School and Corporate Social Responsibility

The ecological transition, social and environmental issues constitute a challenge and represent opportunities for transformation, at all levels: the world of work, education, personal life, etc.

NEOMA Business School wishes to play its full part in the transformation for a more sustainable world. Our objectives: to set an example and act as a player which is fully aware of ecological and societal issues.

Specific governance has therefore been deployed to steer the CSR approach and bring it to life within the school: the school boasts a CSR Department, a CSR Steering Committee and a CSR Committee – which includes the student community and the departments concerned – which collaboratively and transversally build an action plan.

 NEOMA’s CSR policy is built around 3 axes:

  1. Sustainable campus, respectful of the environment and low polluting.
  2. Diversity, a long-standing priority for NEOMA.
  3. Education & Research, to develop its programmes.

Within the Pole entitled “The World We Want”, one of the institution’s 4 Poles of Excellence, the Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development Chair studies the contribution of the bioeconomy to ecological transition. Global originality, NEOMA is the only business school to support an economics-management team dedicated to this issue, which feeds into other programmes including the Global Executive MBA, through the “CSR, Ethics and Sustainable Development” module.