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Commitment and data: the essential duo for a high-impact CSR strategy!

In June in France, Talan and Board co-organised a webinar on corporate CSR strategy. The main lesson learned was that technology and data will enable companies to develop a reliable strategy and report on their social, societal and environmental actions.

Green eco building office interior with plant tree garden inside for fresh ozone air in city

4 good reasons to implement a CSR strategy

CSR is no longer a simple communication argument. To preserve their brand image and remain competitive in terms of business and recruitment,companies need a real CSR strategy that can be measured, evaluated and modified if necessary.

  • Anticipating the tightening of legislation

From 1 January 2024, the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) will replace the current NFRD. After a gradual implementation, around 50,000 European companies will be obliged to draw up a CSR report (compared to 11,000 at present). Therefore, it is in the interest of companies to prepare now if they want to avoid the "rush" that will force them to adopt a strategy in haste.

  • Meeting customer expectations

However, it would be wrong to see CSR as an additional burden. Increasingly, CSR is becoming a very important economic issue. Indeed, consumers are increasingly looking at the sustainability of products, their life cycle and their carbon footprint, and these considerations are weighing more and more heavily on their purchasing decisions.

  • Promoting the attractiveness and retention of talent

Another challenge of a CSR strategy is to attract and retain talent. In 2022, it seems that the era of the "playfulness" of work (after parties, table football) is behind us. The new generations of employees now expect their employer to respect a certain ethic. Their goal is to work in a 'mission-driven company' that is committed to ecological or philanthropic actions.

  • Increasing resilience to crises

Finally, a CSR strategy does not necessarily have to be to the detriment of business. For example, by taking an interest in circular and renewable logics, the company will de facto become less dependent on fluctuations or shortages, and will at the same time improve its resilience to crises.

 

The data cycle in a CSR strategy

An effective CSR strategy is necessarily based on the definition of relevant indicators, but also on the collection and processing of data, as well as on the sharing of the results obtained with stakeholders and employees.

  • Step 1: Definition of KPIs

First of all, the company must carefully define the indicators that it wants to monitor or that it deems most relevant for measuring the social, societal or environmental aspects of its activity.

  • Step 2: Collect and process the data

Next, it must collect the data needed to calculate the KPIs. To facilitate the collection campaigns, the company can equip itself with a dedicated technological solution and create interfaces with the various components of its information system.

  • Step 3: Analysis of KPIs and management

Once the data collection is in place, the company can analyse its KPIs and identify potential discrepancies with the CSR objectives it has set itself.

  • Step 4: Sharing and communication

The last step consists of communicating the results obtained in order to comply with the regulations. But also to be transparent with stakeholders and to show employees that the company is delivering on its CSR promises.

 

Use case: calculating GHG emissions per product with the Board EPM

Today, there are all-in-one solutions dedicated to CSR strategy management. Board makes it possible to retrieve a product's technical specifications and compare them with external data (such as the energy mix of the countries where the product is marketed) in order to establish reliable reporting and steer production according to CSR criteria.

  • Internally: retrieve product specifications from the IS

By interfacing Board with the company's other information systems, we can retrieve data useful for calculating greenhouse gas emissions: electricity consumption (in kWh), frequency and average duration of use, and also the number of sales in each country.

  • Externally: collect data on the energy mix of each country/market

The company can also use Board to import external data, such as that of the IEA (International Energy Agency), which provides information on the energy mix of each country. For example, a household appliance that runs on electricity will be less polluting in France (where nuclear power accounts for a large part of the energy mix) than in China (where coal is predominant).

 

"Thanks to the data, the company will be able to make the right decisions. To meet its CSR obligations, it will be able to decide to redesign a product or target markets with a 'greener' energy mix.

Maxime Parsigneau, Senior PreSales at Board International

 

Couldn't attend our webinar? Check out the replay (in French)!