EcoVadis should not blindly rely on OHSAS 18001 Certificates

This is about certificates for OH&S (Occupational Health & Safety) management systems. EcoVadis accepts them as evidence.

In Germany, a well known CAB (accredited Compliance Assessment Body) of OH&S management systems tolerated for several years a very obvious non compliance of his client with OHSAS 18001:2007. Seemingly the client certified by that CAB did not like the terms in OHSAS 18001:2007 and therefore kept using the terms of OHSAS 18001:1999, which are less demanding. After some years an employee discovered that. The accreditation body DAkkS initiated a re-audit.

In Germany, at least the big CABs protect employers, not employees. The best OHSAS 18001 audits in Europe probably are run in the Netherlands, where the SCCM auditing scheme is applied.

 Bad audits of OH&S managements systems by CABs and by the authorities are a problem for companies like EcoVadis. Certificates provided by accredited CABs simplify their efficiency optimized document audits (remote audits in most cases). But even with well known suppliers and CABs those assessment providers like EcoVadis cannot rely on OHSAS 18001 audits. One way to verify the quality of OHSAS 18001 implementation could be to check, whether assessed suppliers really register and evaluate all incidents defined in clause 3.9 (and clause 3.8) in OHSAS 18001:2007.

OHSAS 18001 Incident Reporting

 Regrettably, EcoVadis tolerates incomplete incident reporting. As for occupational health and safety, EcoVadis only expects reporting on the accident severity rate and the accident frequency rate. That kind of reporting is not the state of the art anymore. EcoVadis allows OHSAS 18001 certified suppliers to get away with incomplete reporting (many of them still keep doing that) although “accident” in OHSAS 18001:1999 for a good reason has been replaced by “incident” in OHSAS 18001:2007. Since 2007, according to clause 3.8 (ill health) and 3.9 (incident) there are twelve kinds of incidents:

12 Incidents in Occupational Health & Safety

In words:
Incidents which …

          … have caused physical ill health
          … have worsened physical ill health
          … could have caused physical ill health
          … could have worsened physical ill health
          … have caused mental ill health
          … have worsened mental ill health
          … could have caused mental ill health
          … could have worsened mental ill health
          … have caused injury
          … could have caused injury
          … have caused fatality
          … could have caused fatality

    Or in other words (strictly following clause 3.8 and clause 3.9 of OHSAS 18001:2007):
    Incidents in which …
          … physical ill health occurred
          … physical ill health worsened
          … physical ill health could have occurred
          … physical ill health could have worsened
          … mental ill health occurred
          … mental ill health worsened
          … mental ill health could have occurred
          … mental ill health could have worsened
          … injury occurred
          … injury could have occurred
          … fatality occurred
          … fatality could have occurred

    “Incident” and “ill health” according to OHSAS 18001:

    • Incident: Work-related event(s) in which
      • an injury
      • or ill health (regardless of severity)
      • or fatality

      occurred, or could have occurred.

    • Ill health: Identifiable, adverse physical or mental condition arising from and/or made worse by a work activity and/or work-related situation.

Self-Interest of CSR Rating Providers

What Gets the Worst Marketing ROI? Your Corporate Social Responsibility Report
Three Ways to Improve the Value of Your CSR Report

By Paul Klein. Published on September 26, 2014.


Finally, CSR reporting has become a case of the tail wagging the dog. There is a growing industry of suppliers that specialize in defining, collecting and packaging environmental, social and governance (ESG) data. This industry advocates for annual reporting but, given the results, the current model seems to be driven by self-interest rather than real value.


The real value (and objective) could be reduced scrunity.

CSR and Employees

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

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.

sustainability, corporate social responsibility, employees.

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

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.

Corporate Social Responsibility – Social Exchange – Social Identity – Organizational Performance

Žana Prutina, PhD
University Sarajevo
School of Science and Technology

Dževad Šehić, PhD
University of Sarajevo
Faculty of Economic and Business


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

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

Reduced Scrutiny


Reduced scrutiny

Corporations are keen to avoid interference in their business through taxation and/or regulations. A CSR program can persuade governments and the public that a company takes health and safety, diversity and the environment seriously, reducing the likelihood that company practices will be closely monitored.


 I think that this often is the main reason for advertising CSR. By awarding suppliers with “Gold” who do not allow their own employees to check the EcoVadis Premiom Report, EcoVadis helps their clients to avoid thorough audits. That is irresponsible.

First Things First

Dear Pierre-François Thaler,
Dear Frédéric Trinel

Before employees can read a CSR report of their employer, it has to be disclosed to them. First things first. Right?

You may want to have a look at

Three Ways to Get People to Read your Corporate Responsibility Report

Submitted by: Judy Sandford
Posted: Sep 06, 2016 – 06:00 AM EST


Your employees, consumers, shareholders and others are demanding more corporate responsibility (CR) information from companies, but they probably aren’t reading your CR report. […]

 Judy Sandford (no relation to EcoVadis) is right. The bad news: There are employers who do not want their employees to read the CSR report, if it is an EcoVadis Premium Report. These employers even reject the employees representatives’ request to read the report.

 How can employees read the report if there are zero ways to get it from their employer? When will EcoVadis publish a policy on how to support the employees of assessed suppliers as stakeholders in the CSR of these suppliers?

 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 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.

License to Ill

License to Ill

Firms that engaged in prior socially responsible behavior are more likely to then engage in socially irresponsible behavior, research finds

By Sean Nealon on November 20, 2013


[Margaret Ormiston, Elaine Wong] found that prior corporate social responsibility was related to subsequent corporate social irresponsibility. More specifically for roughly every five positive actions that a firm takes, this gives them license to commit one negative action.

“These findings show that CEOs should be aware of this tendency so that they can prevent their companies from slipping into this pattern,” Wong said. “Additionally, corporate boards can’t allow CEOs to rest on their laurels. They need to be vigilant in monitoring CEOs.”

See also:

Sustainability reporting: focus on balanced and transparent reporting (2016-03-21):


My research focus was to evaluate reports on transparency, management disclosure and assurance practices. Transparency was broken down into three sub-criteria:

  • how materiality is determined,
  • how stakeholder engagement practices are conducted and
  • how sustainable business goals are set.


“Did you mean eco vad is?” (2014-10-10)

[…] It must be said that Schneider Electric’s transparency on reporting is commendable. […]

 Does Schneider Electric disclose its EcoVadis Premium Report at least to its own employees? Probably not: (2016-08-05)

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