In Austria, both large enterprises and SMEs conduct business in accordance with CSR principles. Whereas, larger enterprises are implementing CSR as a management strategy and make their commitment known, many SMEs are still in their initial CSR phases. As 99.6% of all companies in Austria are SMEs, there cannot be a successful national CSR strategy, without the CSR commitment of SMEs.
respACT austria aims to provide SMEs with the necessary information, explain the benefits and encourage SMEs to implement CSR measures. The main challenge is how to best communicate to SMEs the importance of implementing CSR strategies.
To address this challenge, respACT Austria has created a simple CSR guide, which includes instructions on how to adopt CSR. Going through the guide’s worksheets can be a good exercise for companies as it will give them an excellent overview of their current CSR activities and other potential projects, which can help them to develop their CSR strategy. With this guide, businesses can check their CSR potential as well as learn how to improve their CSR performance and profit from it. The company’s current CSR status will be assessed and future activities uncovered.
The guide is short and concise. It is divided into seven steps, which are:
• Review and prospects: What is your core business and plans and expectations for the future?
• Documentation: What is your position within the market and how can you improve it?
• Stakeholders: Who are your stakeholders, how important are they to your business and how would you define your relationship with them?
• Risks: Where may your company’s risks occur and what can be done to avoid them?
• Actions: Which CSR activities are already implemented and what are your ideas for the future?
• Communicating CSR: How do you communicate your commitment?
• CSR roadmap: How do you realise CSR in your company?
Explaining the benefits of CSR to SMEs is a real challenge as they usually do not relate their own activities and strategies to CSR. The challenge of implementing this project is to point out the advantages of CSR, which naturally act socially responsible, but have no time to deal with it as a management concept.
Companies are now more than ever judged by their attitude towards the market, community, environment and stakeholders so it is vital for SMEs to invest in CSR. By implementing a CSR strategy, businesses will not only benefit from the economic impact, but also gain trust and respect. CSR makes a difference that matters and this guide will help businesses develop their CSR strategy.
The CSR-guide is available at http://www.csrleitfaden.at