(Business Efficiency and Social Responsibility: it works!)
Even nowadays, some businesses still mistakenly think that commitment to social responsibility may hurt their financial results. This book uses facts and real-life cases to prove that social responsibility and business efficiency can effectively coexist. The authors surveyed some 500 French companies to analyze the effect of sustainable development on their capacity to create added value and to boost business performance. The results showed that in fact this approach improved their corporate reputation and image, optimized their business agility, flexibility and capacity to bounce back, etc.
“What does it serve man to win the Moon if he loses the Earth?”
François Mauriac, French writer (1885-1970)
Michael Porter changed our perception
Professor Michael Porter of Harvard University recognized the limitations of past business models and put forth a new CSV (Creating Shared Value) concept. It is a business strategy which seeks to create economic value in a way that creates global social value at the same time. Like many others, Porter believes that there is an intelligent way to bring together corporate social responsibility and value creation for all stakeholders.
Quebec’s Standard BNQ 21000 is an example for French companies
Although the book draws on the statements by French companies and firms using ISO 26000, it also cites the BNQ 21000 as an example to follow. The BNQ 21000 is represented as an approach adapted to SMEs, unlike ISO 26000 which is more complex to apply. One thing is for sure: both standards are based on the strategic evaluation of the business vision, mission and values, as well as on the identification of issues and challenges.
Conclusions of Top Performers
Through the analysis of real-life corporate cases, the authors observe that CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is a way to ensure business sustainability. The book shows that a company that considers stakeholders in its decisions will be more efficient than a company that does not.
The results of the Generali-CSA survey show that, in the face of new corporate challenges, 88% of decision-makers are motivated by meeting customer expectations, 80% by the improvement of the economic performance of their business, 68% by the improvement of the corporate image, 69% by risk reduction and prevention, and 54% by meeting the expectations of employees. All these elements are perfectly in line with the sustainable development approach.
1) Sustainable development is a major challenge for the companies that are part of the survey;
2) The leader is always at the origin of the SD efforts;
3) Surveyed companies rely on sound financial health;
4) In their efforts, they were guided by: meeting the expectations of all stakeholders (33%), achieving better overall performance to ensure corporate sustainability (33%), and protecting the planet (34%);
5) The surveyed companies do not systematically seek financial profitability (although not conclusive).
Further motivations related to overall performance
The surveyed companies identified the following as their motivation:
Some of the conclusions
Advice from successful companies
1) Build your sustainable development policy based on the challenges identified in the strategic plan (SD viewed globally rather than independently).
2) Identify all the parties in each of the segments of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social) and enter into a strategic and coherent partnership agreement.
3) Involve employees beyond the corporate area of interest: people-centered.
4) Align skills development with sustainable development (social skills and know-how).
5) Reduce, if not eliminate, the use of nonenvironmentally-friendly products in your manufacturing processes.
6) Integrate an ecosocial design approach: a global approach to the overall product life cycle, which encompasses all environmental and social impacts at each stage of the life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to the end of its life.
In short, this book highlights and proves the importance of sustained development in the overall performance of both Quebec and French businesses.
Authors: F. Méaux, A. Jounot
Sylvie Grégoire, MBA, CRHA
President, Totem Performance organisationnelle