The ways with which each business communicates its position on the issue of CSR and the activities it implements defer according to the sector in which it belongs, the sort of activities etc. Hereunder indicatively are described some of these ways.
“Social report” refers to publications through which businesses adopt a holisitic view of reporting their wide range of responsibilities towards their stakeholders. While the report is issued voluntarily and businesses use different models, guidelines and methods of reporting, a social report could include some basic elements like:
- statement of principles (mission, values)
- practices and procedures
- effectiveness of the organisation
In order to cover special needs of informing specific stakeholders or underling their commitment on a specific issue, businesses adopt different ways of reporting other than the social report.
“Thematic reports” are publications, which refer to the performance of a business on a specific issue like the environment, health and safety etc. They also include special publications, which aim at the clarification of the position of the business on special issues like diversity, bribery and corruption, human rights etc.
Code of conduct
The code of conduct includes those documents that aim to put internal and voluntary rules for defining the kind of principles / values that an enterprise should adopt in its relations with its stakeholders.
Information through the web
The website is a tool that increasingly is used by businesses for communicating CSR issues. They usually have a specific section in their website where they set out their policies for the environment and other social issues. It can also include reports and publications but also updated information.
Consultation with different stakeholder forums
The involvement of stakeholders is of increasing concern: understanding the views of the stakeholders will help the organization to :
- build mutual trust
- foresee and manage contradictions
- build common agreement among different views
There is a variety of methods of engaging businesses with several stakeholders. These methods may refer to a unique activity on a specific issue or to more constructive, wider and long term consultations. In the case of consultations, these can be made via work groups, public meetings, conferences, questionnaires etc.
This category includes a wide range of tools that are used by businesses to communicate internally CSR issues. It defers significantly from business to business but some common elements are the intranet, newsletters and magazines, meetings with employees etc.
Standards and product labelling
Businesses use several standards for communicating CSR. This category refers to either the widely accepted standards (ISO 9000, ISO 14000, SA 8000, EMAS) or to systems and procedures adopted by enterprises to enhance or ensure performance at recognizable level on issues like health and safety, quality of products and services etc.
Awards and Events
This category refers to Awards received by the company for achievements on specific areas as well as awards organized and awarded by it. These, for example, could include special initiatives, which are organized in the company to enhance the environmental awareness of the employees etc.
The events include specific initiatives, thematic conferences or campaigns organized by the company to support or enhance knowledge on a specific issue or cause.
Cause related marketing
Through marketing initiatives, which are connected to a social cause, companies spend financial sources for charities or social causes, with the parallel accomplishment of business targets. Such initiatives can be used by businesses as communication tools to demonstrate their commitment and investment on social and / or environmental causes (e.g. donation of a specific amount for charity per sold product unit).
Press releases through the web
This category refers to Press Releases included in the website of the company. It gives an aspect of the texts that the company wants to promote through its website.
Of course this does not mean that this way can give full media cover.