The subject of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) has been about as important as "sponsoring" or "charity" for many companies up to now - nice to have, but not obligatory. However, almost every company generates social, ecological and social benefits with its innovations, products and services which go far beyond mere economic success - and which can play a considerable role in a good image, brand development and employer branding.
However, until now only a very few companies have followed a consistent strategy for turning existing potential and resources systematically into results, appropriate reporting and purposeful communication.
Declarations on non-financial information - EU Directive obligates
The view of CSR has now changed with the 2017 business year: implementation of the EU Directive on Corporate Social Responsibility in national law (§ 289c German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch, HGB) makes it obligatory for many companies in Germany and in the EU to publish a so-called "Declaration on non-financial information" in their situation report. This is intended to include all implications of company activities on the environment, employee and social matters and also provide information on observation of human rights and for fighting corruption and bribery.
This now means that the communication departments are facing the task of collecting and evaluating all direct and indirect, positive and negative articles covering company social responsibility - which often means considerable expenditure while rummaging through a jungle of uncoordinated home-grown CSR structures with different individual measures and data fragments. The spontaneous implications for those responsible are easy to predict: extra work (such work is viewed as unnecessary anyway), overtime (nobody thanks you for it anyway) and a lot of groaning (why do we have to do all this?).
CSR report as opportunity
As a matter of fact, the reporting duty results in a real opportunity: Once it is clear to all those involved that it is not just a "report for a report's sake" being drawn up, but that the results can be used to effectively push the company forwards, a win-win situation results.
The structured situation analysis enables strategic planning of further measures which strengthen the core markets and employee identification with your company when connected with internal and external communication. The apparent extra expenditure becomes value-adding, and initiative and commitment are rewarded.
CSR: strategy, report, communication
If you've been treating the subject of CSR as a poor relation up to now, now is the right time to rethink your strategy. We can help you with planning an objective CSR strategy, systematic reporting, evaluation and effective communication of your results. The obligation to publish a declaration on non-financial information in acc. w. . § 289c HGB offers the ideal occasion for a future-capable CSR concept from which you, your company and your employees can profit in the long term.