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Home » Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) » CSR strategy and implementation in Practice
CSR strategy TEMPLETE DOCUMENT for Software Companies
Purpose of this templete
The purpose of this note is to give inspiration for a simple model of a CSR strategy for an IT company that will not only ensure general ethical business conduct but also entail a strategic commercial advantage to THE COMPANY.
CSR strategy
THE COMPANY is (for example) producing software and knowledge/knowhow is the prime input to the product. Hence, physical material inputs to the products of the company are very limited. Thus, issues of ethical supply chain management or environmental management of the product are not of key concern for THE COMPANY. The main potential positive and negative social and environmental impacts of the company on its key stakeholders are:
No Issue Stakeholder Potential Impacts (Examples)
01. Efficient use of Resources
Electricity consumption Environment, climate Negative: CO2 emissions, climate change, pollution from environmentally unfriendly sources of energy, excessive use of resources
Positive: Possibility of sustainable energy consumption, minimise use of resources, assist customers using less energy (in their supply chain).
Water Environment, climate Negative: Natural resources, climate change, pollution
Positive: minimise use of resources and of waste water.
Waste Environment, climate Negative: CO2 emissions, natural resources, climate change, pollution
Positive: minimise use of resources and of waste water.
02. Workplace environment Employees Negative: Violation of international/national legal labour rights and standards, stressful physical & psychical working environment and illness.
Positive: Pleasant physical and psychical working environment, healthy employees, loyal and/or motivated workers, higher output.
03. General business conduct (external & internal) Legal authorities / general public, Management systems Negative: Violation of national/international legal frameworks and guidelines. CSR is not communicated clear, documented or followed up, employees & stakeholder (internal as well as external) not aware of policies.
Positive/neutral: Compliance to national/international legal frameworks and guidelines. Transparency and best practices. Coherency between objectives, policies and practice.
04. Product related impacts on customers and the general public Customers / general public Negative: Products creating distaste among customers and general public, harming the brand of the company
Positive: Products contributing to skills, awareness, knowledge and education of customers in addition to reduced CO2.
Strategy outline
Since there is no physical production the CSR issues are reduces. There are no obvious CSR related problems exists in the supply chain of THE SOFTWARE COMPANY and the key issues to target are activities related to company itself (see above in table 1) and its environment THE COMPANY itself, i.e. issues outlined in table 1. A two fold strategy is suggested in order to comply with a high standard of ethical business conduct as well as reaping the benefits of a strategic approach to CSR:
  1. Strategy for CSR in core business functions, e.g. environment, employee relations, general business conduct, and product related issues (issue no 1-4 in table one). These should be addressed in a code of conduct for ethical business conduct.
  2. Strategic philanthropic initiatives aimed at benefitting society at large as wells as increasing the knowledge and demand of the products of THE COMPANY.
1. Strategy for core business functions
It is suggested that THE COMPANY formulates a short and concise written CSR policy in the form of a code of conduct, stating the companys ethical guidelines of business conduct. It is suggested to frame to the CSR policy / code of conduct around the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as this is an internationally recognized framework for social and environmental responsible business conduct (see www.unglobalcompact.org). Furthermore the code of conduct should explicitly address compliance to national law. Framing the code of conduct around the UN global compact and referring to abidance to local law will address issues no 1-3 in table 1. Issue no 4 could be addressed in the code of conduct by a single point referring to the ethical guidelines around the type of products that the company will develop and distribute. In addition to this, the Policy suggestions A-J outlined in the B2B pilot project application can be added to the code of conduct or where relevant - included in the points of the code addressing the Global Compact principles.

Practical initiatives in order to ensure compliance to the code of conduct could for instance be (but not limited to):
No Issue Action
01. Electricity consumption
  • Conducting and energy audit and addressing relevant points of action.
  • Investing in CO2-neutral forms of energy (e.g. buying electricity from a CO2 neutral supplier or buying CO2 emission quotas)
02. Workplace environment
  • Adhere to relevant legal and international frameworks i.e. national law and Global Compact.
  • Establish a workers welfare committee facilitating dialogue around workplace environment and identifying relevant actions to improve physical and psychical working environment.
  • Ensure proper physical working conditions by having a qualified physiotherapist conducting a workplace audit and investing in appropriate tools and furniture, e.g. elevation tables, proper chairs if needed etc.
  • Adhere to principles A-J already formulated in the B2B pilot project application.
03. General business conduct
  • Adhere to relevant legal and international frameworks i.e. national law and Global Compact.
  • Adhere to principles A-J already formulated in the B2B pilot project application.
04. Product related impacts on customers and the general public
  • Adhere to ethical guidelines around the type of products that the company will develop and distribute.
  • Implementing strategic philanthropic initiatives (see below.)
2. Strategic philanthropic initiatives
Strategic philanthropy relates to company giving that entails a strategic advantage to the company typically in a long term perspective or initiatives that the company engage in purely to make a difference for (for example) underprivileged citizen in form of donations. The products of THE COMPANY are ideal for the first type of strategic CSR, as free provision of the products to selected organisations, institutes etc. can be closely related to brand building as well as demand increasing marketing efforts.

For instance relevant software can be provided free of charge to libraries, schools, music schools, museums or cultural institutions. Also software can be provided to institutions, organisations or communities for marginalised people/children etc. This will not only have the benefit of contributing to the good of society and branding THE COMPANY positively. By increasing the knowledge of - and ability to use the products of THE COMPANY, these kinds of initiatives will also increase the potential consumer base of THE COMPANY in the long term.

Regarding donations the company needs to consider how it best can make difference.

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