Corporate Social Responsibility: just a matter of ethics?

16-10-2018

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not merely a moral imperative, but a strategic lever for businesses. At Sodalitas Social Award we met Carlo Bonomi, president of Assolombarda, and Francesco Perrini, sustainability expert at Bocconi University.

We can no more consider companies as exclusively economic subjects: today’s scenario pushes entrepreneurs to become social subjects as well, contributing to real emergencies such as welfare, young and female employability, racism and discriminations, environmental safeguard. According to Assolombarda’s president Carlo Bonomi, this is how we could act where governments limp, also mitigating the sense of distrust that keeps people away from institutions, politics, and public life.

If many companies do embrace this vision, Corporate Social Responsibility has come out of a purely ethic dimension to get at the core of business strategies, with direct impacts on reputation and stakeholders relations, and even on financial performance.

Back in 2011, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer came to the definition of shared value, correlating the success of an organization to the wellbeing of its community. Nowadays sustainability is made through innovation, technology, and a solid collaboration with value chain partners – the same ingredients a company needs to be productive and competitive in the global markets of the XXI century.

At Sodalitas Social Award, SDA Bocconi’s Sustainability Lab director Francesco Perrini pointed out that sustainability is at all purposes an entrepreneurial model, based on the ability to value relations and strategically integrate social and environmental committment into business processes and workflows.

CSR allows to regain competitivity, opens new business opportunities, attracts talents – and fresh capital too. Compliance to ESG (Environmental, Social e Governance) principles is now a common criteria for investors to measure corporate sustainable behaviors and predict business performance, including financial results. ESG will be increasingly popular, cutting out those which don’t adapt to.

Sustainability is good, and also worthwhile.