Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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In Kürze: CSR is a voluntary positive practice for companies in social and environmental matters, but is now widely accepted as a business concept.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the responsibility of economy to a positive development in social matters, environment and sustainability. It has no clear definition yet, but in 2010 there has been the ISO 26000 standard developed.

CSR has developed from a voluntary individual self-regulation for private companies into a regulation that is demanded by local, regional and international authorities.[1]. Nowadays, CSR can be seen as an integrated business concept.

There are two main approaches for putting CSR into practice:

  1. the normative approach
  2. the economically motivated approach

The former sees CSR as a necessity for companies to give back to society and nature. The latter refers to the intrinsical motivation of a company to use CSR as a tool for trust-building, marketing, reputation and customer satisfaction. Here, there is always the danger of Greenwashing.

ISO 26000

In Kürze: ISO 26000:2010 are guidelines to all organizations for CSR, that cannot be certified.

ISO 26000 cannot be certified and is offering guidelines towards integrating social responsibility into companies' practices. It has been developed over the course of 5 years and has been published on 1 November 2010, last reviewed in 2014 and remained unchanged.

ISO 26000:2010 provides guidance to all organizations principles, practices, core issues of CSR, including guidelines on how to integrate, implement, promote, and communicate CSR behaviour. [2]

ISO 26000 was not intended for certification purposes, however, in some countries, institutions have offered certification-like procedures.

ISO 26000:2010 is not a management system standard. It is not intended or appropriate for certification purposes or regulatory or contractual use. Any offer to certify, or claims to be certified, to ISO 26000 would be a misrepresentation of the intent and purpose and a misuse of ISO 26000:2010. […]
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It also claims, that according to the Marrakech Agreement (World Trade Organization (WTO)), it is not an international standard, guideline or recommendation.[3]