There are no general rules on how to implement CSR. The commitment shown by a company's management and shareholders is a key factor. CSR should be integrated in all of a company's segments and strategies and ideally become part of its corporate culture.
The implementation of CSR assumes compliance with laws as well as social partnerships and other contractual agreements. In addition, society's expectations, which go beyond legal obligations, are to be considered.
In order to support companies in their efforts to assume responsibility, international organisations, governments, corporate associations and non-government organisations have developed standards, codes of conduct and labels that describe and explain the expected conduct. The OECD guidelines for multi-national companies, the United Nation Global Compact, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ISO 26000 on social responsibility and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI, a guideline for sustainability reporting) are widely recognized tools and guidelines.
Their implementation should cover the whole range of effects of corporate activities, including the value added chain, and take into account stakeholders' requirements. The specific conditions under which SMEs operate and the options open to them must be considered in this respect. Transparency and a readiness do engage in dialogue are at the core of CSR and contribute to its successful implementation.