“Cooperative Values and Principles for Corporate Social Responsibility”
“Los principios y valores cooperativos para la Responsabilidad Social Empresarial”
“Valeurs et principes coopératifs en faveur de la responsabilité sociale des entreprises”
Messages from members
- Message from the United Nations Secretary-General in English and French
- Message from the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in English, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish and more on the ICA website
- Message from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in English, French, and Spanish
- Message from the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
- Message from the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) in English, French, and Spanish
The theme of the International Day highlighted the fact that cooperatives are by their very nature enterprises that balance or integrate economic, environmental, and social imperatives while at the same time addressing their members’ and stakeholders’ expectations, thus promoting “corporate social responsibility” or CSR.
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 that also positively impacts society through 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, corporate governance, community development, consumer protection, labour protection, supplier relations, business ethics, and stakeholder rights.
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. 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, which counts a number of cooperatives as members
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- Global Reporting Initiative: Used by many cooperatives and businesses as a tool in developing sustainability reports
- AccountAbility: Used by many cooperatives, the AA1000 Series is a set of standards, guidelines, and user notes intended to provide the basis for improving the sustainability performance of organizations
- CSR Europe: Member institution for promoting CSR amongst businesses in Europe
- 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.
Information on cooperatives and CSR
- 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
- Desjardins Group (Canada)
- Migros Group (Switzerland – in French)
- Rabobank Group (The Netherlands)
- RSE.COOP (Spain – in Catalan)
- Vancity (Canada)