CSR is the way of managing companies based on the management of the impacts that their activity generates on their customers, employees, shareholders, local communities, environment and society in general
Past in Spain of the CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility
It is difficult to analyze the evolution of CSR without considering two facts: the economic crisis of 2008, which has increased inequality in Spain and has seriously impoverished employment; and the digital revolution, which is changing the economy, society and the person. With these references, and with the humility of representing nothing more than what we are, today we want to say:
1.- Conceptually, CSR, which was born to favor an integral globalization by reducing social, labor and environmental impacts, has not finished occupying that space. If we ask “non-experts”, we will see that CSR continues to be associated more with philanthropy and social marketing than with integrity. One piece of information supports this statement: close to 50% of the CSR areas of the IBEX 35 (the most advanced in this field) depend on communication or institutional relations. In short, it has not yet been realized that CSR does not have as much to do with what is donated to social causes, but with the way in which they make the decisions to generate income in a sustainable and honest way.
2.- The CSR has not penetrated public policies. At the beginning of the 2008 crisis, there were notable references to CSR due to business management failures. The G20, at its Pittsburgh meeting in 2009, called for more transparency and regulation for financial institutions. But the outcome of the crisis has forgotten the lessons we should have learned from its origin. Public policies to promote CSR never became important and today they are testimonial. The competitiveness-responsibility equation does not preside over policies for economic modernization or for social innovation. The public administrations that practice CSR within their activities are the exception, not the rule.
3.- The social credibility of CSR has declined due to the financial crisis. The expectations opened at the beginning of the century have been greatly attenuated. Many citizens attribute to companies and managers, behaviors that are not responsible and inconsistent with the CSR proclamations of their brands. Throughout Europe, working conditions are getting worse. Unemployment (especially among young people and women), the increase in inequalities, the reduction in spending on social protection have generated a climate of social disaffection to the institutional system, which has reduced empathy with companies. All this calls into question the potential of CSR as the basis of a more social economy or, as some still claim, of an Economy of the Common Good.
4.- Although CSR is a voluntary instrument, the main advances have been made by law and self-regulation. The reporting of non-financial information (environmental, social and personnel issues, respect for human rights, fight against corruption and bribery, supply chain, …) has been accelerated by the European Directive on non-financial information and diversity (recently transposed in Spain by a Decree Law). The involvement of the Board of Directors is a consequence of the Capital Companies Law, (which attributes to the Board the non-delegable responsibility of the CSR policy, control and supervision included) and the Code of Good Governance. The penal responsibility of the administrators for inadequate management and the reinforcement of the compliance areas has been promoted with the Penal Code Reform. And the incorporation of the social clauses in the Public Contracts has been consolidated with the Law of Public Sector Contracts.
5.- The State Council of Corporate Social Responsibility, CERSE, created in 2008, has been “frozen”. The Spanish Strategy for CSR 2014-2020 approved by the Ministry of Employment is a set of generic recommendations with no potential to promote differential changes. A policy of stimulating CSR should consider measures to enhance the role of stakeholders (consumers, investors, media, public purchases, etc.). It has been said that CSR will not advance if there is no demanding society and responsible citizenship. But these values do not arise by spontaneous generation, but as a consequence of integral policies that foster them.
6.- The “CSR culture” has traveled very estimable social spaces. In the academy, training has evolved positively. Civil society, trade unions, NGOs, consumers, the media, etc. have welcomed the idea with unequal interest. The professional sector -consultants, responsible for CSR, etc.- has grown under strong demand during the first years, although it has diminished lately. However, the business world, with some exceptions, has not led this movement and its representative organizations have
Present of the RSC in Spain:
Emma Antolín, CSR director of Grupo Antolín, expressed the importance of values and responsibility within her organization. “CSR must respond to what is important in your sector. In mine, it is essential to address global warming, air quality and even the raw materials we use in our manufacturing, which is why we are very aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and we take great care of the green footprint of our supply chain. ” On transparency, he stated that “it is essential to have an ethics committee, and code of good conduct”, and stressed the value of respect for human rights, workplace prevention in all its facilities and the commitment to training and training professionals so that they can access employment and contribute to social development.
The last intervention and the most international was given by Ana Mohedano, OISS Social Services Program Manager, who highlighted the importance of human capital in Ibero-American countries: “We treat social protection in four areas: health care, prevention of risks, social security and employability of people with disabilities “. Regarding the latter, he explained that “training has been provided to ensure that those responsible are in charge of selection processes, training environments for workers with different needs, and all with good results, so in addition to working at a public level, also taken to the private level “.
The quick reading of the day is marked by the idea of the need for an improvement of social education and the need to promote a change in social and business mentality based on criteria of sustainability and responsibility.
Future of CSR in Spain
So far, the balance. We now want to propose some lines of progress for CSR that should be remembered. These are:
1.- It is necessary to promote the incorporation of SR policies and principles in the classrooms and, especially, in the decision-making process (Corporate Governance and corporate culture) of companies and institutions to achieve their necessary transformation in citizen organizations. Beyond the fulfillment of the law, there is an ethical horizon of responsibility without which life in common is, and it will be if we do not remedy it, impossible.
2.- Combat and punish corruption and deepen transparency. Corruption is the main enemy of the Social and Democratic State of Law, of the market economy and innovation. In addition to the negative impact of corruption on GDP – which the University of Las Palmas has assessed at € 39,500 million – this scourge kills innovation, destroys competitiveness and corrupts democracy. Transparency is not only a social imperative today but, in addition to an obligation, the best antidote against corruption itself.
3.- Combat inequality. Although poverty has been reduced globally, inequality has increased. Poverty in Spain increased by 14 points among the population at risk of social exclusion, due to the decrease in average income and the loss of purchasing power, particularly due to the contraction of labor income. In business terms, inequality is evident in the salary differences: women charge
22 percent less than their male colleagues and, according to Intermon Oxfam data, a first executive of an IBEX-35 company earns 112 times the average salary of the company, and 207 times the lowest salary.
4.- Promote transparent taxation free of tax havens. Tax evasion limits social spending, reduces the financing of infrastructures, generates unfair competition, redirects foreign investment to other territories and harms the lowest incomes. Fortunately, new tax information requirements are already emerging after the entry into force of the Fiscal / Country Report, established by the BEPS2 initiative of the OECD and the G20, and the European Parliament is promoting new legal requirements that oblige large companies to report their tax contributions at the country level.
5.- Address the new ethical debates posed by robotization and Artificial Intelligence. There are no longer RS digital strategies but RS strategies in a digital world. CSR should help answer some questions: How will the replacement of human labor by robots be addressed? How to reduce inequalities due to access to technology and education in new skills? How to protect us from algorithms with discriminatory biases? How to maintain human control over artificial intelligence? …
6.- Generate an international legal system of protection and compliance with international conventions on Human Rights. Productive decentralization to countries with socially weak democratic institutions, and the impacts of the industrial extractive of natural resources, are generating a very serious socio-labor and environmental problems in too many countries. The national plans to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles are too voluntaristic and the sectoral agreements of large companies either do not exist or do not work.
7.- Promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs have served to define the development agenda until the year 2030. They involve a holistic commitment to change business models, coherence of public policies and public-private partnerships. They represent the New Era of CSR … and are our common goal. It only takes joint work and political will, and we have “lost” almost three years …