Corporate responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is used by leading companies as a strategic framework, through which all company activities are viewed.

It is also known as Corporate Responsibility (CR) and sometimes as Corporate Citizenship. CSR is not a radically new concept, as businesses throughout history have always had to respond to wider societal issues, but increasing concerns about corporate reputation have undermined trust in business and there is a growing belief that effective CSR is a sound investment for companies and a civil society.

In order to effectively incorporate CSR into a business model, it is common to first evaluate the model as a system of three elements:

1. Principles – the core principles upon which the business operates.
2. Processes – mechanisms by which principles are implemented.
3. Outcomes – the results of applying the principles.

For instance, by understanding principles, organisations might see how to incorporate a culture of sustainability; by understanding processes, they might outline a plan for ethical procurement; and by understanding outcomes, they might be able to reduce environmental impacts.

Facilities managers have a key role to play in contributing to CSR, as they can translate the high-level strategic change required by senior decision-makers into day-to-day reality for people in their work or living space. Facilities managers know how buildings work in practice, and the facilities management approach emphasises sustainability, long-term thinking and lifecycle costing.

The ISO 26000 Standard, published in November 2010, provides guidance on the underlying principles of social responsibility. By looking at an organisation’s behaviour, the ISO 26000 Standard evaluates to what extent it transparently and ethically:

• contributes to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society;
• takes into account the needs and expectations of stakeholders;
• is compliant with applicable laws and consistent with international norms; and
• integrates and implements these behaviours throughout the organisation.