Sustainable development: where responsibility meets performance

Aware of the importance and competitive advantage that responsible and sustainable management represents, companies are beginning to explicitly integrate this concept into their operations.

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) criteria are now a priority for companies. A 2017 poll by ObsAr [a monitoring agency for responsible purchasing] revealed that 82% of companies have a “good, or very good,” level of knowledge regarding regulations and best practices. In 62% of cases, the results showed that responsible purchasing and achievements were “in line with, or above the agreed targets”.

Growing concerns regarding image and social responsibility have motivated this much-needed development and, driven by the younger generation of employees, clients and partners, are becoming increasingly more aware of ethical and sustainable development issues.

New laws also help explain this trend: since August 2017, listed companies with more than 500 employees and a turnover exceeding 40 million euros, and, unlisted companies with more than 500 employees and with a turnover exceeding 100 million euros are no longer required to produce a global CSR report, but a non-financial performance statement. This document assesses and tracks ecological impact, risks related to collaboration with partners or suppliers and regulatory compliance.

As a result, CSR reporting tools, such as solutions from DPD Group, Verteego and Sustainway, are becoming increasingly popular within organisations. This is an effective way to respond to the expectations of external auditors, such as EcoVadis, providing full transparency. Such an approach also makes it possible to involve all stakeholders on a regular, proactive and more operational basis.

En route to a green business trip?

In turn, business travel operators are setting themselves apart by demonstrating best practices in this area: for example, BCD Travel became the first travel agency to win the EcoVadis “Gold” label for CSR last year. CWT also achieved this esteemed certification in 2017 and is among the top 1% of most efficient companies in this area. Bleu Voyages is another player integrating this approach into their development, having recently published its first carbon report and set up a CSR committee that meets every quarter to determine, monitor and measure the various commitments.

EcoVadis, in particular, is encouraging companies to submit CSR ratings, which are becoming increasingly more common. Overall, this approach helps to streamline, better manage and, ultimately, to reduce costs. More and more bankers, clients and investors are focusing on CSR ratings. However, we still need to reach a positive assessment.

In addition to environmental criteria, EcoVadis suggests that ethical considerations, working conditions, supply chain issues and responsible marketing are among some the characteristics analysed. Certain aspects are of course regulated differently according to the activity and size of the company. Carrying out a survey will enable the company to take stock and identify their strengths, as well as highlight areas in need of improvement. The company will, therefore, be able to expand further by streamlining its certificates and eco-labels, and only retaining those which will have the greatest impact.

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