CSR aims to bring enterprises direct benefits while making a positive contribution to society.
From the enterprises’ point of view, the following aspects are key:
- Enterprises can benefit financially from CSR, for instance by making savings in energy and raw material consumption thanks to more productive workers (e.g. reducing illness- and accident-related absences and early retirement from working life), better credit terms and easier access to the capital market. Overall, consistent CSR management can help enterprises gain a favourable market position, can boost innovation and can avoid threats to their reputation.
- Systematic handling of CSR can have a positive influence on an enterprise’s competitive edge, since customers are increasingly taking CSR criteria into account. The products and services market is also developing specific social or environmental characteristics accordingly. In addition to an enterprise’s conduct as an end supplier, certain customers are also increasingly attaching importance to responsible business conduct along the entire value chain.
- Responsible conduct can help motivate employees. A reputation as a responsible employer also boosts recruitment, since employees are increasingly mindful of the values of an enterprise (e.g. concerning integrity).
- Responsible business conduct can give enterprises a competitive edge when taking part in public tenders. In the case of public procurement by the federal government, suppliers must comply with the relevant provisions regarding employment conditions and equal pay.
- Responsible business conduct helps identify and respond to changes to political framework conditions in good time.
From a social point of view, society can expect the following benefits:
- Consistent and broad implementation of CSR helps to overcome social challenges (e.g. skills shortage, unemployment, consideration of the ageing workforce, balancing work and family), to position Switzerland as a responsible economy, to reduce the need for statutory regulations and thus to consolidate enterprises’ competitive edge.
- Exercising CSR helps to preserve natural resources, protect health and improve quality of life. This in turn avoids or reduces the costs to society. The social benefits of a wisely used and well-managed environment include food, good-quality water and air, and natural recreational spaces.
- Many countries do not have adequate statutory provisions or do not implement these adequately, despite being responsible for developing and implementing the framework conditions for their own social and economic policies. If enterprises reduce the social and environmental risks abroad and in their global value chains, living conditions can improve in developing countries in particular, thus boosting global sustainability.