The main challenge, which we have confronted successfully, has been to create a simple, accessible tool with which to bring CSR to the SME world. In order to successfully create this tool, we have confronted numerous obstacles, such as:
- Ignorance of the value of CSR - Many SMEs did not understand the value of CSR and failed to recognise that publicising their CSR policies could bring them significant competitive advantage.
- Fear of publishing certain information which companies consider sensitive, but which is fundamental to CSR reports.
- Computer and technical developments. This initiative has meant we have had to develop suitable platforms in order to put it into practice.
The objective of the project is to promote CSR as a differentiating factor for SMEs by creating a simple, accessible tool through which they can report on their actions and strategies in the field of sustainability, covering economic, social and environmental aspects. The initiative aims to help SMEs with implementing the technical aspects of CSR and to highlight the CSR work which they have undertaken.
In order to do this, the companies taking part have to fill in a CSR questionnaire based on the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative. Soon after, they receive a fully designed and printed copy of their Sustainability Report, free of charge. The Official Credit Institute (ICO) covers all the costs involved.
The CSR questionnaire covers each company's performance with respect to employees, the environment, the economic value they generate for the community in which they operate, etc.
The initiative called for the involvement of the Senior Management at ICO and Caja Navarra in order to forge the agreement and to the develop CSR policies. Communication and Computer Departments from both entities collaborated to develop the contents and computer applications required. More importantly, a total of 1,114 companies (out of a total of 2,594 companies that initially expressed interest) have obtained their CSR Reports via this initiative.
The initiative is open to improvement in two ways:
- By creating a more complex, more technical CSR questionnaire, which may risk of resistance from many of the companies taking part due to lack of resources or sufficient time to fill it in.
- By taking the initiative to a greater number of companies and making the reporting model international by exporting it to other countries.
The initiative has delivered a significant benefit to society:
- Effective promotion, with significant, quantifiable impact, of CSR among Spanish SMEs, means that they can recognise the competitive advantage of implementing simple and accessible management models based on CSR.
For the Official Credit Institute (ICO), the chief benefit has been:
- Creation of a tool which has managed to gain recognition, both in the press and among businesses, for its contribution to the development of CSR and enhancement of the competitiveness of Spanish SMEs.
For the companies taking part, the chief benefits have been:
- 1,114 small companies have been able to initiate, receive training in, take a more in-depth approach to and adopt positions regarding CSR, and to network with the other companies taking part.
And for Caja Navarra:
New business, positioning and access to data bases of companies interested in Caja Navarra's specific CSR model.