Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a major challenge for our company and, more generally, for all companies. But it also raises many questions: what are the benefits? How do you go about implementing a CSR approach? What are the different approaches?
This is where the CSR diagnosis, sometimes called the CSR audit, comes in: it’s an essential step in defining and implementing a CSR approach, and aims to define the actions to be taken.
What is a CSR diagnosis?
The aim of the CSR diagnostic is to assess your company’s level of preparedness for the challenges of sustainable development as defined at international level by the ISO 26000 standard . Its aim is to analyze and understand :
- The company’s level of CSR maturity
- Identification of internal (employees, shareholders, etc.) and external (customers, suppliers, etc.) stakeholders.
- Your organization’s specific needs
- Available and necessary resources
The CSR diagnostic must also propose concrete, measurable avenues for improvement and reflection, so as to be a real working tool in your company’s CSR approach.
What is the scope of a CSR diagnosis?
A comprehensive CSR diagnosis assesses the 7 themes defined by the ISO 26000 standard:
- Human rights
- Relationships and working conditions
- Environmental protection
- Good business practice
- Taking the consumer’s interest into account
- Social commitment
To begin with, it’s perfectly possible to carry out partial CSR diagnostics, analyzing each topic in turn.
However, a global and comprehensive approach is advisable in order to fully understand the relationships between each theme. This is essential to define the actions to be taken.
How do you carry out a CSR diagnostic?
CSR diagnostic web platforms
There are a number of online tools that make it easy to carry out a CSR diagnosis, often free of charge. These software programs and platforms are very useful for getting a quick overview and identifying your organization’s CSR strengths and weaknesses.
However, they are not designed to go into detail and, being based on generic models, rarely take into account the specific features of your organization.
But above all, these digital tools don’t suggest any avenues for improvement, nor are they capable of defining concrete actions.
=> It’s a solution that allows you to take stock and become aware of the problem, but it’s not enough to start a real CSR approach.
CSR maturity assessments
These comprehensive “audits” can be carried out in-house if the company has the necessary skills and resources. But most SMEs choose to work with a specialist outside consultancy.
This is a complete and personalized CSR diagnosis. All topics are analyzed exhaustively, taking into account the reality of your business and its specific needs.
=> The full CSR audit is the essential tool for implementing an effective CSR approach.
What are the different stages of a CSR diagnosis?
First step: taking stock of your CSR situation
It’s a cross-functional diagnostic that provides an overview of the company’s CSR readiness. It is based on a whole range of concrete data, such as environmental, social and economic impact studies.
This inventory is often presented as a “CSR diagnosis” by online tools, which rarely go any further in their analysis.
Second step: the scope of intervention
This involves identifying the company’s scope of intervention, which depends on its sector of activity, its size, its business model…
This analysis is different for each organization and helps define :
- Stakeholders: all individuals, groups and organizations linked to the company by common interests and responsibilities.
- Sphere of influence: how can the company position itself in relation to each stakeholder?
Third step: action areas
Depending on its activities and sphere of influence, each company can define a series of action areas, which then need to be evaluated and prioritized according to :
- Level of relationship or influence
- CSR impact
All this makes it possible to define actions grouped into 3 categories:
- Priority fundamental issues
- Secondary operational issues
- Remote issues to be reassessed
Stage 4: Proposed action plan
This last step can sometimes be considered the first step in a CSR approach… but it’s actually part of a complete CSR diagnosis!
The aim is not only to propose a number of actions to be implemented, but also to provide the tools for their concrete application:
- Defining objectives
- Measurement tools (performance indicators)
- Resource requirements
From CSR diagnosis to CSR approach
The aim of a CSR diagnostic is to put in place a genuine CSR approach within the company. It is therefore a starting point for your company’s CSR governance: setting up an organization to carry out the CSR action plan, managing change and communicating.
📞 If you would like to carry out a CSR diagnostic, our Impact/ CSR experts are at your disposal – contact our teams!
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