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Reporting Guidelines for CSR

28 Jun

Corporate Social Responsibility efforts of a company are on a purely voluntary basis. However,  as demand is increasing more and more firms try to set up a CSR department in order to stay competitive.

Are there any formal regulations that firms can follow?

There is the attempt of ISO 26000:2010 to provide guidelines for developing and implementing a CSR strategy.
However, Jo Bilson, management consultant, criticises in her blog post the lack of any formal regulations concerning CSR efforts. This is also emphasized on this website. Here it is pointed out that ISO 26000:2010 is “not a management system standard”. It can not be understood as a certification since there are no approved norms concerning CSR. Thus, it is merely an attempt to assist firms that are concerned about their corporate sustainability.

Atos, an international IT service company, makes use of a different approach:

GRI-Global Reporting Initiative 

GRI is a non-profit organization that developed a Sustainability Reporting Framework that is also used by Atos. In their CSR report 2011, Thierry Brenton, Chairman and CEO, proudly pronounces Atos success in the GRI rating program. Atos was awarded an A+, which is the highest possible ranking. Becaus of this ranking, Atos declares themselves to be a “sustainablity leader”. This is what Elaine Cohen, CSR consultant, criticizes in her blog “The A+ Myth of Sustainablity Reporting: Stop the Hype”. She wonders whether the achievement of an A+ level  is conterminous with “sustainability leadership”? According to Elaine Cohen, the so called “GRI reporting standards” are rather setting standards on how to improve a firm’s reporting level rather than focusing on the report substance.

Right after the foreword of the CEO, the CSR report provides some key performance indicators in terms of money.

Jo Bilson supports Atos’ mention of financial achievements in a different post “Budgeting for Corporate Social Responsibility”. Here she assures that investors and other stakeholder increasingly demand transparent and accurate financial statements of companies. The financial budgeting plays a major role in this context. Bilson emphasizes the necessity of a well-structured CSR budgeting process. One advantage Bilson sees when improving a firm’s CSR budgeting process is the ability to free up cash by optimized accuracy of cash flow reporting that then can be used for CSR strategies.

In their CSR report 2011 Atos claims to report according to globally accepted reporting standards, here GRI.

Jo Bilson objects to the assertion of Atos to align to a general reporting standard.

In her blog post Jo Bilson points out the main criticisms of CSR:

  1. lack of regulation
  2. misuse as a marketing ploy
  3. abuse of power by decision-making companies in the social domain
According to Bilson one main failure of missing regulations is due to the notion of voluntariness that CSR is surrounded by. Since standardization is not given, Bilson complains, that especially CSR reports of transnational firms are harder to evaluate and compare.
Moreover, Bilson warns that due to the lack of formal regulations, managers responsible for CSR might see their opportunity to increase their power position within the company.

Generally spoken, she criticizes the actual trend of adopting Corporate Citizenship within businesses. She underlines her argumentation by referring to Milton Friedman’s famous article in The New York Times Magazine. According to Friedman the only “social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”. Friedman calls businessmen, attempting to convince the world that they have real social consciousness, “unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces”.

Finally, if we believe in Friedman’s words then:

“there is one and only one social responsibility of business-to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”



25 Jun

A lot of companies are using Social Media and Networks for the recruiting process. They want to find out more about the job candidates. It is important for them to get to know how this person acts in “real life”.

Often it is the case that job candidates dissimulate during the job interview and the recruiter therefore cannot find out, what kind of person is sitting in front of him or her.

At this point Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are jumping in and changing the whole first impression that you got from the job candidate. Those Social Networks could change the opinion of the hiring manager from hiring you to definitely NOT hiring you. But what could you do to improve your whole online profile?

Continue reading

NGOs – the consultants

21 Jun

Opponents of CSR argue that resources spent on other than economic goals are an unnecessary waste of it. However, as I have already mentioned in my last blog post CSR strategies can actually come along with a range of benefits that can outweigh its costs. CSR engagement can really become a necessity for well-organized and well-structured business. Now, the questions raises:

Where do I get a skilled and valuable CSR manager from?

When thinking about NGOs and large companies putting all their efforts into their salient goal of profit, I did not expect the two to work hand in hand to improve sustainability. Yet, a very interesting blog post of Vijan Kanal proved me wrong. Continue reading

Work- Life Balance

20 Jun

In my last two blog posts “Burnout Syndrome: A Disease of Modern Societies?” and “Have you reached your limit yet?, I wrote about the burnout syndrome and how it is related to student’s work load at university.

Today, I want to discuss a concept which is very much related to the topic of burnout because in many guidebooks it seems to be the perfect way to cure people from a burnout syndrome or to even prevent it: Work-Life Balance!

When I first heard these work in my human resources class last semester, I thought this is something really great and helpful in our modern world of working where more and more women go to work and also want to have a family. But then I questioned myself if this concept of Work-Life Balance is really the perfect compensation between job, family and hobby? Continue reading

“It’s a job trying to get a job!”

18 Jun

Last week I got an email with the following sentence: “We are sorry, but unfortunately we already chose somebody else for this job!” Who does not know this kind of emails? Sometimes I think it is so hard to apply for a job and to actually get the job.

As students we have to apply a lot. We apply for internships, side jobs and later after finishing college we have to apply for our final job.

However, often when we get letter of refusal we do not know why? What did we wrong? We spent so much time on writing such a (what we think) good application and the only thing, what we get back is a “NO”. This can be very frustrating.

But what would you think about a solution for this problem? I think there are some myths about the recruiting process itself, which have to be corrected.

After a very impressive interview with Mr. John C. Davis, a Human Resources Management teacher, I want to show you what we, as the job candidates, really have to do in our applications and what key factors we have to consider to get the job we want.

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“The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife!”

14 Jun

Recycling-one of the may simplest ways to contribute to a better environment. For some it’s cumbersome, for some it’s natural and for some it’s business.

Sustainability within firms has gained more and more interest within the last years. If firms want to differentiate their products from similar brands, they try to do something special, something good, something in the actual customer’s interest. Continue reading

Have you reached your limit yet?

13 Jun

In my last week’s blog post  “Burnout Syndrome: A Disease of Modern Societies?” I introduced the topic of the burnout syndrome in general. This time, I want to focus more on what meaning burnout syndrome has for us as college students if there even is one.

I thought about this topic because especially this semester I often got the feeling that I just can’t handle my workload anymore, which was mostly due to the Business Applications class where we were supposed to fulfill several tasks each week. When I talked to my friends they almost felt the same way I did and I was really surprised how they are even able to do all that every week because some of them also work during the week or even on the weekends and on top of that they have their own apartment which means that they also have to handle all household responsibilities and cook for themselves.

Since I still live at home, I don’t have to go working and can pass most of the household work to my mom and still, I thought it was too much. So I asked my friends how they get all the work done and the answers were quite like in the graphic aside. They made restrictions on other parts of their life either that didn’t sleep as much as they would have loved to do or they didn’t do their college work properly and didn’t expect to get a good grade for it or they decided to stay at home during the weekend and didn’t meet friends to get everything done. Continue reading