Corporate social responsibility: where do you start?

Customers, suppliers and governments increasingly expect you to do corporate social responsibility (CSR). But where do you start?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR or, in Dutch, Maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen, MVO) means taking people, the environment and society into account in the choices you make. This can be done in many ways: by making your purchasing process fairer, taking good care of your employees, or by making your premises more sustainable. Customers find it increasingly important (in Dutch) that businesses contribute to a better world. In addition, legislation is looming that will make CSR mandatory for some businesses. Time to get to work, then!

Your social value

If you want to do business in a way that is compliant with corporate social responsibility (CSR), you first need to know what the social value of your business is. This will give you a clear picture of what you are already doing well and where improvement is needed. This is how you give your CSR plans focus.

You determine your social value by looking at how your business affects everyone it touches directly or indirectly: your staff, customers, and partners. But also local residents and the environment. List all these parties. Also write down where your business operates. How do you influence these people and places? Is this influence positive or negative? Substantiate this information with data. Such as data on energy and water consumption, CO2 emissions, workplace safety, and customer satisfaction. Once you have collected all this data, you can assess where you are already performing well and where improvement is needed. This allows you to plan and set targets. For example, is your negative impact due to polluting transport? Then make an action plan for green transport. This way, you go through all the points one by one. The more positive your influence, the greater your social value.

The next step

The Business Model Canvas can help you further develop your CSR plans. Want to find out even more about where you stand now? TheCSR step-by-step plans (in Dutch) can be a useful tool.

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Examples of CSR include:

  • Generating energy with solar panels
  • Vegetarian company restaurant
  • Offering work or learning places to refugees
  • Using environmentally friendly materials
  • Separating and recycling waste
  • Sponsorship of local sports clubs
  • Donating old laptops
  • Using sustainable packaging
  • Adapted workplaces for employees with physical disabilities
  • Sustainable delivery
  • Gender-neutral toilets
  • Electric transport