What is the power of CSR for your company?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about more than just business strategy. You must take into account the way your company affects people, the environment and society. For all through from production to consumption or disposal. The European Union found that 68 percent of the companies state their missions about CSR on their website. Yet only 39 percent made mention regarding their activities related to sustainable packaging methods. Therefore, CRS is a challenge for all companies which leaves much room for improvement. A lot of progress can be made in the field of sustainable packaging. However CSR is a challenging subject. This article explains why firms must refocus their CSR activities on this fundamental goal and the challenges that come with it.
First of all, increasing legislation on CSR pressurises companies to rethink their business strategy. In February 2022, the European Commission adopted a bill for a directive on due diligence in business within the field of sustainability. The proposal aims to promote sustainable and responsible behavior of companies throughout the global value chain. Businesses must identify, and where necessary prevent, eliminate or reduce negative impacts of their activities on human rights, such as child labor and exploitation of workers, and on the environment, such as pollution and biodiversity loss. But the legislation will only account for a small part of the companies. It only applies to companies with over 500 employees and a revenue of 1.5 M. In the Netherlands this accounts for only 0.4 percent of the more than 450,000 companies (excluding one-man companies). Therefore companies should take a lead on this subject.
Most companies have long practiced some form of CSR with the broad goal of simply contributing to the well-beainf of the community and society around them. But there is a new trend which is increasing pressure to dress up CSR as a business discipline and demand that these initiatives deliver business results. Therefore, distracting CSR activities from their main goals. Outcomes like mitigating risks, enhancing reputation and contributing to business results should all be spillovers, not their reason for being. If you're interested in reading more about this subject and dive into the systematic process for bringing coherence and discipline to CSR strategies read the article in the Harvard Business Review.
What does CSR mean for our company?
We are proud to be a part of the ZeroPackaging team and we're committed not only in making our business successful, but also doing good. Our social responsibility doesn't stop at reducing waste within fashion packaging - it spills over into other areas such as sponsorships for cleanups on beaches. Last weekend, for example, our co-owner enthusiastically helped with the removal of rubbish on the beaches of Muiderberg.
Fortunately, there was less waste at the beach compared to previous years. Hopefully this can be partly explained by the fact that we throw away less waste, and start to clean up most of it. If we continue to do so, ultimately nature will become cleaner.
In addition to cleaning up the beaches, we must ensure that waste does not end up in nature at all. Many people are already working on this, by letting companies know they should produce less mess. They should produce more products designed for reuse.
It is up to everyone to make sure they throw away less and maybe even clean up more waste. But companies also have to take responsibility. Even so called “bio-plastics” do not degrade 9 out of 10 times when they end up in nature. Therefore, when choosing packaging materials, the litter potential factor should be taken into account. If these will be landed in nature, they will be broken down. To prevent them from mooring somewhere on the beach in Muiderberg somewhat years on. Or even worse, they end up being eaten by the animals.
The choice is ours to make. We have to take responsibility for our own actions, and also work together to make a difference in the world we live in. Every little bit counts - so what are you waiting for? Get started today!
Duurzaam Ondernemen. (2022). Europese Commissie komt met regels die bedrijven verplichten mensenrechten en milieu in mondiale waardeketens te eerbiedigen. https://www.duurzaam-ondernemen.nl/europese-commissie-komt-met-regels-die-bedrijven-verplichten-mensenrechten-en-milieu-in-mondiale-waardeketens-te-eerbiedigen/
Duurzaam Ondernemen. (2022). MVO Platform: 'Europees wetsvoorstel voor verantwoord ondernemen slaat de plank mis'. https://www.duurzaam-ondernemen.nl/mvo-platform-europees-wetsvoorstel-voor-verantwoord-ondernemen-slaat-de-plank-mis/
V. Kasturi Rangan., L. Chase., S. Karim. (2015). Harvard Business Review - The Truth About CSR. https://hbr.org/2015/01/the-truth-about-csr