What is corporate social responsibility

Social responsibility in business

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The social, ecological and societal commitment of companies - also known as “CSR” (Corporate Social Responsibility) - has become more and more important in recent years. CSR is about assuming social responsibility beyond legal obligations. CSR is therefore a voluntary corporate commitment. Companies must be able to decide for themselves in which areas they are involved.

Not only do business partners weigh up the ecological and social risks of a business partnership more often, the awareness and demands of customers have also changed. Tragedies such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh in 2013, with more than 1,100 deaths, have led customers to question the "strategy of reducing costs at all costs" and to pay more attention to the working conditions under which the products are made when making a purchase decision.

Strengthening corporate responsibility in global supply chains is also a focus of the German EU Council Presidency. On July 1, 2020, Germany took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for six months. With the support of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, the German Presidency of the Council of the EU is committed to an EU action plan “Human rights and good work in global supply chains”. As part of this, Social Affairs Minister Carolina Trautner discussed at the video conference “For a social and fair Europe” on November 9, 2020 with German and European parliamentarians about minimum social standards and Europe's global responsibility.

Fortunately, many companies in Germany and Bavaria have recognized CSR as a competitive advantage and are committed to society and the environment in a variety of ways. This is not surprising either. Bavaria has lived entrepreneurial responsibility for centuries: The Fuggerei in Augsburg is nothing other than CSR.

CSR is concretized in four fields of action following the national and international experience and practice of many companies: CSR in the workplace, in the market, in the community and towards the environment. The field of action “workplace” focuses on occupational health and safety, but also deals with the compatibility of family and work and the specific design of the workplace. The “Market” area is essentially about consumer protection and fair pricing, but also about the implementation of social standards. Voluntary commitment by employees and the company's social work can be summarized under the term “community”. In the environmental sector, among others, the subject areas of "climate protection" or the introduction of environmental standards play a role. The starting points, topics and entry options in the subject areas of economy, ecology and social issues are different for every company, there is no silver bullet.

More detailed information can be found on our website on the subject of CSR, which we created with the Bavarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.