In 2001 the European Commission presented the European Union’s view on corporate social responsibility in the green paper “Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility.” This defined Corporate Social Responsibility (SR) as “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interactions with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.”
(Commission of the European Communities (2001): Green Paper on Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility, COM (2001) 366 final, Brussels)
Over the years, the EU amended the definition of (corporate) social responsibility.
Currently, the most widely used definition for social responsibility is defined under the ISO 26000:2010 standard (SIST, 2010: p. 26):
Social responsibility is the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that:
⎯ contributes to sustainable development, including the health and the welfare of society;
⎯ takes into account the expectations of stakeholders;
⎯ is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour, and
⎯ is integrated throughout the organization and practised in its relationships.
NOTE 1: Activities include products, services and processes.
NOTE 2: Relationships refer to an organisation’s activities within its sphere of influence.
The activities of the IRDO institute derive from the EU definition of social responsibility. The Scientific Council of the institute further defines social responsibility as:
- individual social responsibility (that of an individual),
- social responsibility of organisations (companies, institutes, NGOs, governmental organisations),
- social responsibility of professional groups,
- social responsibility of a nation, country, association, but always towards society, i.e., people and the environment.
Examples of criteria for social responsibility of organisations (they are included in the Slovenian award for SR Horus (www.horus.si)):
- Responsibility to the environment and sustainability of it
- Responsibility to employees
- Responsibility to communities
- Responsibility to buyers and suppliers
- Incorporating SR in the strategy of a company and compliance with international guidelines
- Inclusion of stakeholders
- Plans of action and key factors of success
- Measurement of effects, communicating and reporting about SR
- Certificates, awards in areas of SR