Employees are CSR Stakeholders

“If It’s Not Public, You’re Not Doing It”

 This blog is about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in general and especially about the disclosure of EcoVadis Premium Reports to employees as key stakeholders in the CSR management of their employer.

 EcoVadis got a hook in its name. It probably is intended to stand for “CSR checked”. Employees are key stakeholders in the CSR management of their organization. How seriously can one take the green EcoVadis check mark if the employees of audited organizations cannot scrutinize the stories which their employers tell to EcoVadis and which EcoVadis turnes into a well structured “Premium Report”? That 15 pages profiles also contains a 3 pages chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)”.


 Today, customers are not just buying products and services from their suppliers. Considering their reputation and their liabilities as purchasers and employers, especially large corporations are under immense pressure from stakeholders to be transparent about their sustainability and CSR practices, and this includes their supply chains.

 EcoVadis’ business is reputation management. EcoVadis Members can subscribe to a “Premium Plan” where EcoVadis offers “customized 360° monitoring of CSR news and events” related their company.

 Plans and prices: For being evaluated by EcoVadis in 2016, to my understanding suppliers (members) have to pay 480€ for a “Basic” one year plan. For a subscription to the “Premium” one year plan (with the 15 pages EcoVadis Premium Report) they pay 1200€. (The “Corporate” one year plan would cost them 4900€.) Subscribers to the Premium Plan get “Premium badges”, “certificates” and a “15 page profile” to proactively tell their “CSR success story” in their websites, PR, etc. Thus, EcoVadis does support the disclosure of the EcoVadis Premium Report (the profile) to the public. But only few companies to that.

 250 young and mostly low payed employees helped EcoVadis in “expanding activity by more than 50% in 2015”. EcoVadis’ business is to evaluate the CSR management of suppliers in a higly standadized way. Around 25000 suppliers from more that 100 countries are registered with the EcoVadis platform, around 6000 “members” per year are evaluated. Buying from a supplier ranked high by EcoVadis gives purchasers a good conscience. They think, that they don’t need to put effort in audits of sites of suppliers awarded with “Gold” or “Silver”.

 An EcoVadis Premium Report shows well structured and in detail what a supplier reported to EcoVadis. But there is a weak point: If the CSR of a supplier has been awarded with “Gold” by EcoVadis and if that supplier does not disclose the related EcoVadis Premium Report at least to the own employees, then there must be something wrong with the report. Employees are major stakeholders in their employer’s CSR management. The chapter “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)” in the EcoVadis Premium Report is their’s.

 It’s the GIGO Principle: EcoVadis offers an excellent framework for standardized CSI reporting. That shows that a well structured presentation of “soft” issues is possible. But if the input is flawed (garbage in), the output of a document audit (remote audit) will be flawed as well (garbage out). The good news: Suppliers assessed by EcoVadis can turn the weak point of the EcoVadis method into a strength. There already are suppliers who disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report to their employees as stakeholders of their CSR management system. They enable their own employees to scrutinize the EcoVadis Premium Report with their insider knowledge. Some suppliers even publish the report in the Internet.

Platinum
 If you call suppliers “courageous” because they disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report to their employees or even to the public, you still don’t really understand what CSR is about. Rather than being courageous, these companies simply walk the CSR talk and display best practice leadership – which regrettably is not fostered by EcoVadis yet. Suppliers with transparent CSR reporting deserve “Platinum”. As long as EcoVadis doesn’t provide such an award, I’ll try my best to take care of that.

“Employees are a vital audience
for reporting on sustainability”

 http://www.ecovadis.com/sustainability-reporting/

Meeting the expectations of employees

Employees are a vital audience for reporting on sustainability, They are primary audience for presentation of the reporting as contributes to an increase in employee retention and loyalty which in turn impacts postively the workforce as a whole which ultimately leads to better performances.

 Then why doesn’t EcoVadis support employees who want to read their employer’s EcoVadis Premium Report? Please walk the talk.

Together for Sustainability
Together with Employees?

To:
        The administration and the members of
        Together for Sustainability AISBL (TfS)
        Avenue Edmond van Nieuwenhuyse 4
        1160 Auderghem
        Belgium

 
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen

The TfS members use the services of EcoVadis. The employees of your companies are key stakeholders in the CSR management of your company. Do you, as members of TfS and EcoVadis, disclose the EcoVadis Premium Reports to your employees?

CSR and Employees

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.473.9433&rep=rep1&type=pdf

International Conference on Information and Finance
IPEDR vol.21 (2011) © (2011) IACSIT Press, Singapore

The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility
on Employees

Alin Stancu, Georgiana Florentina Grigore and Mihai Ioan Rosca
Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies – Romania

Abstract:
In the last years we witness a significant increase of society’s overall focus upon issues concerning sustainable development. This trend affected both companies and consumers. The sustainable development concept is present both in the scientific literature, but also in companies board rooms. Companies start to engage in CSR activities in order to respond to an external demand, while taking into consideration the positive effects of CSR. The article presents the results of a quantitative research regarding the employees’ attitude regarding social responsibility activities of their employers. In the beginning a short literature review is presented.

Keywords:
sustainability, corporate social responsibility, employees.


 

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/business/ICCSR/assets/ibyucpdrvypr.pdf

No. 54-2010 ICCSR Research Paper Series – ISSN 1479-5124

Corporate Social Responsibility
Influence on Employees

Jean-Pascal Gond, Assâad El-Akremi, Jacques Igalens, Valérie Swaen

Abstract:
This paper analyzes Corporate Social Responsibility‘s (CSR) influence on employees. We integrate social identity theory and social exchange theory in a new framework. This framework explains how employees‘ perceptions of CSR trigger attitudes and behavior in the workplace which affect organizational, social and environmental performance. This model bridges micro and macro researches on socially responsible behavior, articulates social identification and social exchange processes, and explains how CSR contributes to corporate performance by influencing employees‘ behavior.

Key-words:
Corporate Social Responsibility – Social Exchange – Social Identity – Organizational Performance


 

http://hrcak.srce.hr/file/236052

Žana Prutina, PhD
Lecturer
University Sarajevo
School of Science and Technology
E-mail: zana.prutina@ssst.edu.ba

Dževad Šehić, PhD
Professor
University of Sarajevo
Faculty of Economic and Business
E-mail: dzevad.sehic@efsa.unsa.ba

EMPLOYEES’ PERCEPTIONS OF CORPORATE
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY:
A CASE STUDY OF AWARD RECIPIENT

UDK / UDC: 005.35(497.6)
JEL klasifikacija / JEL classification: M14
Pregledni rad / Review
Primljeno / Received: 12. veljače 2016. / February 12, 2016
Prihvaćeno za tisak / Accepted for publishing: 24. svibnja 2016. / May 24, 2016

Abstract:
Employees’ perceptions of organizational corporate social responsibility (CSR) are usually a mixture of personal experiences of internal CSR and actions that affect external stakeholders. Recent research points to numerous benefits from employees’ positive view of company’s CSR efforts, however, analyses of employees’ perceptions and attitudes are still rare. The aim of this paper is to explore employees’ perceptions of company’s behaviour towards relevant stakeholders, and the extent to which such behaviours are seen as commendable, taking into consideration the company’s reputation. Analysing CSR orientation through employees’ perceptions can help distinguish between company’s genuine CSR orientation and simple window dressing. Using a mixed method approach that combines questionnaire, interview and content analysis, this exploratory study focuses on the perceptions of employees in a company recognized for socially responsible behaviour in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The results suggest that employees perceive their company as socially responsible, but also that there are variations in perceptions depending on the stakeholder group and point out the importance of the national business system and culture in CSR evaluation. The empirical findings correspond to its public reputation and provide legitimacy for the awards received.

Key words:
corporate social responsibility, employees’ perceptions, reputation,
Bosnia and Herzegovina

AntiCSR.com

 Employees are key stakeholders in the CSR management of their employers. Without credible stakeholder involvement, even being ISAE 3000 audited won’t help (as much as all the buzz words in EcoVadis’ announcement won’t help). EcoVadis talks to unions, but they don’t pay enough respect to employees where EcoVadis could help them directly without too much effort. That is an ethical problem in the ethics business.

 I think that the concept of EcoVadis is good, but their reluctance to encourage suppliers to disclose their EcoVadis Premium Reports at least to the own employees is irritating. On the other hand that also provides suppliers with an opportunity to get an “Platinum” award just by publishing their reports without having been asked by EcoVadis.

 That said, I want to draw your attention to AntiCSR.com with the understanding, that I am not against CSR reporting in general. I am against insufficiently verified CSR reporting. I am against hype. “Anti CSR” takes “a Critical look at Corporate Social Responsibility”. That is what we need.

Key Stakeholders of a Company:
its Employees

http://www.pando.at/2013/07/22/if-employees-are-not-engaged-csr-becomes-an-exercise-in-public-relations/:

If employees are not engaged, CSR becomes an exercise in public relations.

Employee · Engagement

CSR strategies, sustainability reports and the integration of ecological and social values in vision and mission are very often addressed to external stakeholder groups rather than to one of the key stakeholders of a company: its employees. It is a missed opportunity if own employees don’t know what is going on, as they are the most valuable brand advocates of a company and CSR measurements are becoming more credible for external stakeholders when shared by all employees.

CSR – HR = PR. If employees are not engaged, Corporate Social Responsibility becomes an exercise in public relations. The credibility of an organisation will become damaged when it becomes evident that a company is not ‘walking the talk’. […]

Legitimate Stakeholders

 According to EcoVadis (see http://www.endress.com/_storage/asset/1576641/storage/master/file/6849002/download/eh_EcoVadis_Premium_Report_2016.pdf, chapter 10, p. 24/31) “legitimate stakeholders” are:

  • Governmental organizations (i.e. government environmental protection administrations, anti-trust agencies, customers protection agencies)
  • CSR networks and initiatives
  • Trade unions and employers’ organizations
  • International organizations (i.e. UN, ILO, UNEP, …)
  • NGO’s (i.e. Greenpeace, Clean Clothes Campaign, Transparency international, UFC, …)
  • Research institutes and reputable press (CSR Asia, Blacksmith Institute, …)

A corporate stakeholder is a party that can affect or be affected by the actions of the company and the achievement of its objectives (i.e. employees, clients, suppliers).

 I think that, presently, EcoVadis treats employees as 2nd class stakeholders.

Cher Msr. Thaler, cher Msr. Trinel

Dear Pierre-François Thaler,
Dear Frédéric Trinel

 Your concept for the EcoVadis Premium Reports is excellent. There also is a chapter on “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)”. In the chapter, employees of companies assessed by EcoVadis could find several pages on policies, actions and results.

 Regrettably, some companies disclose their reports to customers only, but not to their employees. They trust their customers more than their own employees.

 As long as an organization assessed by EcoVadis refuses to disclose their EcoVadis Premium Report at least to the own employees, these employees have to assume that there is something wrong in what their employer reported to EcoVadis.

 In Germany, works councils are legally obliged to supervise the implementation of OH&S regulations and environment protection regulations in their organization. Therefore hiding any reports describing
• the state of OH&S and
• the state of environmental protection
from employee representatives is an infringement of their rights and interfers with the works council’s obligatory tasks. In order to obtain the report, works councils would have to sue the employer. But often works councils are to weak to do that. Here support from EcoVadis would help to settle conflicts out of court.

 According to EcoVadis, “trade unions” already are legitimate stakeholders. Please describe the process which trade unions can use in order to obtain EcoVadis Premium Reports from those companies in which these trade unions represent employees. Understandibly, employees as stakeholders are curious about the chapter on “LABOR PRACTICES & HUMAN RIGHTS (LAB)”.

 Please develop and publish an EcoVadis policy which shows that EcoVadis compassionately encourages assessed companies to disclose their EcoVadis Premium Reports to all parties who have a legitimate stake in the CSR of that company.

Best regards,
Goetz Kluge

Leftist Trade Unions not interested in CSR

http://www.etui.org/News/Trade-unions-and-corporate-social-responsibility-pragmatism-wins-out-against-mistrust (2015-02-26)

[…] The more left-wing the trade union, the less it will be interested in CSR’ was how Lutz Preuss summed up the situation. According to this researcher, it is in Finland that the trade union movement is most open to CSR, a finding that can be explained by the fact that this country is able to boast a highly developed social legislation that endows it, to some extent, with a safety net that can protect it from any undesirable side-effects of negotiations undertaken in the framework of CSR. […]

If “left-wing” stands for left-wing conservativism, I agree to that. As for CSR, old fashioned unions too often leave the agenda setting to the employers and lack the competency and professionality required to challenge corporate story telling and corporate “reputation management”.