13th UN International Day of Cooperatives, 7 July 2007
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Values and Principles for Corporate Social Responsibility"
Corporate social responsibility is an evolving term with no standard definition or a fully recognized set of specific criteria. However, there is general agreement that it aligns business operations with social values. CSR focuses on the social, environmental, and financial success of an enterprise with the goal being to positively impact society while achieving business success and embraces two main concepts—accountability and transparency.
CSR commitments and activities typically address aspects of an enterprise's
behaviour (including its policies and practices) with respect to such key elements
as; health and safety, environmental protection, human rights, human resource
management practices, corporate governance, community development, and consumer
protection, labour protection, supplier relations, business ethics, and stakeholder
Enterprises are motivated to involve stakeholders in their decision-making and to address societal challenges because today's stakeholders are increasingly aware of the importance and impact of decisions by corporations and other enterprises on society and the environment. The stakeholders can reward or punish enteprises. Enterprises can be motivated to change their commercial behaviour in response to the business case which a CSR approach potentially promises. This includes:
- stronger financial performance and profitability (e.g. through eco-efficiency),
- improved accountability to and assessments from the investment community,
- enhanced employee commitment,
- decreased vulnerability through stronger relationships with communities, and
- improved reputation and branding.
General Information on CSR
- United Nations Global Compact - The world's largest corporate responsibility initiative covering human rights, anti-corruption, labour and the environment. A number of cooperatives are involved in the Global Compact but also involved in national Global Compact initiatives.
- World Business Forum for Sustainable Development
- Global Reporting Initiative: The GRI is used by many cooperatives and businesses as a tool in developing sustainability reports.
- AccountAbility: The AA1000 Series is a set of standards, guidelines and user notes intended to provide the basis for improving the sustainability performance of organisations. It is also used by numerous cooperatives
- CSR Europe: Member institution for promoting CSR in Europe amongst businesses
- Corporate Social Responsibility and Decent Work: ILO initiative to support the positive contribution that business, through CSR, can make to promoting decent work around the world.
- European Association of Co-operative Banks: Report on CSR and the performance of cooperative banks
- Cooperatives Europe and CSR
- Co-operatives UK - Key Social and Cooperative Performance Indicators
Cooperative Sustainability Reports or Websites
- Canada: Desjardins Group
- Canada: Vancity
- Spain (Catalunya) - www.rsecoop.coop
- Netherland: Rabobank Group
- Switzerland: Migros Group (Français)