Social Audits. What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) encompasses an organization’s commitment to behave in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner, while honoring the interests of direct stakeholders.

The mission of the socially responsible organization (SRO) is to influence the process of developing, and advocating by example, socially responsible business practices which benefit not only the SRO and its employees, but also the greater community, the economy and the world environment. SROs seek to reshape the way business is done in both the for-profit and not-for-profit arena.

While what it is to be “socially responsible” is defined at many levels, there is an evolving core of minimum standards for corporate social performance. These standards represent an initial step in the full development of a socially responsible organization. The minimum standards are intended to be specific, documented, and measurable. They are also achievable and meaningful in terms of impacts on communities, employees, the environment and economic systems.

These standards are not about getting a “passing” or “failing” grade but are assessment tools for the SRO’s current level of commitment to CSR. The standards assist in setting measurable and achievable targets for improvement and form the objective foundation for reporting to all direct stakeholders both the “talk” and actual “walk” of the SRO.

The dimensions covered by the minimum standards incorporate the concepts of community involvement, diversity, employee relations, environment, international relationships, marketplace practices, fiscal responsibility, and accountability. These factors have been defined in the following outline.

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