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Institute of Ethics

Integrating Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility into Strategy

Addressing Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) challenges and transforming them into opportunities for value creation is part of the DNA of tomorrow’s successful companies.
The Institute of Ethics experts have contributed to the drafting of the new ISO 26000 standard for Social Responsibility. The Institute promotes the development of an “integrated management framework”. Its goal is to assist in the process of integrating CSR and sustainability in traditional business management systems and processes (de Colle & Gonella, International Journal of Business Performance Management, 2003). This integrated management framework seeks to create a balance between the different elements of “internally focused” CSR approaches (based on business ethics initiatives, such as codes of ethics, ethical training etc.) and the elements of “externally focused” CSR approaches (based on social accountability initiatives, e.g. social reporting, stakeholder engagement, etc.).

To adopt a balanced approach, companies should consider introducing the following actions into their management systems:

  • Defining the mission and values of their company
  • Identifying key stakeholders
  • Defining responsibilities towards stakeholders (code of ethics)
  • Engaging with various stakeholders
  • Analysing social, ethical and environmental risks
  • Introducing awareness-raising ethics training
  • Communicating with employees
  • Designing an ethics infrastructure (policies and standards of conduct)
  • Monitoring the compliance with this infrastructure
  • Publishing a report (accountability)
  • Seeking assurance (internal and external)
  • Reviewing the process
  • Learning and innovating.

The Institute of Ethics offers advice to managers on how to integrate core CSR and sustainability values – e.g. respect for human dignity, fair cooperation, stakeholder responsibility, accountability to future generations, etc. – into their company’s strategy and management systems to create socially, ethically and financially successful companies.

We call this enrichment of mainstream business models Stakeholder Capitalism (Freeman et al., 2010), as it guides managers to focus their attention on the real source of value creation: coordinating the “jointness” of stakeholder interests.

For more information please contact us: ethics@dcu.ie