A social responsibility program aims to help enterprises contribute to sustainable development, that is built on the economic, social and environmental pillars; and this by encouraging them to take into consideration behavioural principles of social responsibility such as ethical behavior, respect for law’s rule and human rights.
To implement such a program, the enterprise must identify its scope of social responsibility, i.e. the areas where its social responsibility is engaged through impacts generated by its organization or third parties as a result of its decisions and activities. The definition of these areas reflects the economic, social and environmental considerations of sustainable development which may evolve over time. Examples include working conditions, fighting against discrimination, pollution prevention, data security and privacy.
The enterprise must also identify its internal and external stakeholders, i.e. those who are likely to be affected by its decisions or activities and engage bilateral communications with them to consider their expectations and points of view.
Social responsibility must be fully integrated into the culture and organization of the enterprise and be reflected in its decisions and activities. To achieve this, the enterprise must bring social responsibility to life across its entire organization, in particular via its governance and its work’s processes while monitoring the performance of the activities related to it. The enterprise has also to make its staff aware of social responsibility and to train them on its practices. Finally, the enterprise could also have to promote social responsibility in its value chain or wish to exert its influence beyond this chain (i.e., in its sphere of influence).
Internal and external communication on social responsibility can take place through different channels (paper, digital, interpersonal) and for different purposes. For example, to establish a dialogue with the stakeholders of the enterprise and in particular to make its employees aware of social responsibility as mentioned above. But also, to share information with its stakeholders on progress made and enhancements noted on its social responsibility, to send them reports on the performance of its CSR program, and to inform the press of the content of these reports.
Ideally, these reports should mention the objectives and if possible, include performance indicators while mentioning how and when the stakeholders were involved in their preparation.
A company will also benefit from the implementation of an effective social responsibility program, as this will have a positive impact on its reputation.