Conveying and generating value through CSR
Public relations and institutional and corporate communications professionals currently play a key role in organisations’ long-term development strategy.
We are deemed responsible for the proper management of corporate reputation and other intangible assets of companies, which are playing an increasingly significant role in the perception of companies by the public.
CSR generates values that are recognised by stakeholders, and thus is required by companies to achieve sustainability, differentiation, and competitiveness.
According to the report La comunicación de la RSC en España: Radiografía y diagnóstico (CSR Communications in Spain: X-Ray and Diagnosis), drawn up by the Observatorio de la Comunicación y Acción Responsabilidad Empresarial (OCARE) (Observatory of Communication and Action in Corporate Responsibility), CSR is beginning to become consolidated across all industries, but there is a need for it to become part of the organisations’ discourse, and as a corollary, of social discourse.
Sharing CSR strategies with organisations’ audiences is a way to generate links, share commitment, and achieve the social recognition required by CSR
CSR should be understood as a wider and more transversal concept such as Responsible Management, which should be implicit in the organisations’ DNA.
Heads of Communications should have an influence on corporate culture and understand that this is not merely green marketing, but rather a way of doing things. It is them who should promote credible Responsible Management policies that foster corporate behaviour based on consistent, transparent, and measurable procedures.
Because Responsible Management is more closely linked to communications than to any other area associated with senior management, Responsible Management executives should report to the company’s Head of Communications. Whenever this is not possible, both departments should work together, reporting directly to the CEO.
CSR communications make no sense if a company is not responsible. We must first do things properly before announcing them. Financial, environmental, and social responsibility is playing an increasingly significant role in proper corporate management and governance, and should become a reference point.
Sharing CSR strategies with organisations’ audiences is a way to generate links, share commitment, and achieve the social recognition required by CSR.
In the course of my professional career as the Head of Communications at a healthcare company, I live, breathe, and assimilate CSR as an intrinsic part of company strategy and a key part of our management. For this reason, I assume corporate social responsibility as one of my own values. This is the only way to be really capable of creating responsible companies and societies.
Companies must follow working guidelines aimed at developing CSR practices across all transversal activities. By creating codes of conduct, corporate civic responsibility policies, and strategic social action plans, companies can foster active engagement of each and every one of their employees. In this way, at some point it will be the employees themselves who will demand increasing involvement and responsibility in their local communities.
More specifically, codes of conduct should define in detail responsibilities towards each stakeholder and train key employees on a yearly basis as far as possible. We must all maintain and strengthen the standards that promote transparency towards our public, so that our companies retain their authority and leadership. Integrity and ethical values are key elements in companies’ success.
Companies must be sensitive to society’s demands and needs. We have gone from communications based on social action to communications based on transparency, through responsible management and the building of trust.
Communicating CSR when it is integrated into the organisation is simply a matter of communicating what is done, and the only difference lies in the how and why
Communicating CSR when it is integrated into the organisation is simply a matter of communicating what is done, and the only difference lies in the how and why.
Organisations should play an active role in the improvement of their societies, and all the initiatives that share this aim should apply to all levels of management, becoming a corporate policy and a model of comprehensive company management.
To conclude, CSR means that companies can integrate social concerns into management and have a great opportunity to provide society with greater benefits by behaving in the same way as a responsible and sensible adult would.