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Corporate social responsibility

The issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been gradually taking on a role of great importance in the strategic choices and development plans of companies around the world. It finds its essence in the definition, given by the European Union, of "corporate responsibility for their impact on companies".

Such is an integral part of a much-discussed concept, particularly in the last decade, that concerns the ethical approaches of the economy.

The references given by the world's largest organizations, such as the United Nations and the OECD, looked beyond the need for companies to please citizens and stakeholders, for the positive return on image that it produces rightfully so. They explain that adopting working conditions in companies that respect social responsibility, a fair supply of resources, an independent process of monitoring for the protection of workers and a strict respect for the environment, represent a corner stone for the choice of business models and, at the same time, a necessary condition for success.

There are many benchmarks, including:

  • The SA 8000 standard issued by Social Accountability International (SAI), to ensure that companies have working conditions that respect social responsibility;
  • The AA1000 standard (or Accountability 1000), created by theInstitute of Social and EthicalAccountability(ISEA),which sets a process standard designed to assess companies' achievements in ethical and social investment and sustainable development;
  • The ISO 26000 standard, issued by the ISO Working Group Social Responsibility group, as a response to the European Economic and Social Committee's (CESE) request on "measurement and information tools on corporate social responsibility in a globalized economy":

In Italy as well, there have been pronouncements trough laws and judicial actions that have as inspiration the dictates of our Italian constitution - which reads: "The private economic initiative is free. It cannot be carried out contrary to social usefulness or in a way that harms security, freedom and human dignity." in its in 41th article.

The theme of corporate social responsibility also closely relates to the information given to reporting stakeholders through the development of an integrated sustainability accounting, assurance and reporting approach, a process that translates into a communication on value creation over time. Such due the integrated representation of a company's performance in terms of both financial and other information, and among them, mainly those concerning social responsibility.

In this regard, Act 254/16 introduced for public interest institutions (securities issuers traded on regulated markets, banks, insurance and other financial intermediaries) with more than 500 employees the obligation to report non-financially, i.e. the disclosure of information on environmental sustainability, social sustainability, supply chain, diversity management and risk management.

The aim of the law, following an EU directive (2014/95/EU), is not only to induce companies to communicate correctly and objectively the "non-financial" impacts of their business (often referred to by the acronym ESG, i.e. Environmental, Social, Governance), but also to ensure that these issues become part of the company's targets - Hence promoting a change not only organizationally, but also the corporate culture. If a company is forced to disclose its own business characteristics (environment, employees, companies, etc.), it is more likely, it will be stimulated to do something to improve it, with possible positive effects on the public image.

RSM and its experts can provide help to the companies, both those subject to this obligation, and virtuous companies that make the inspiring principles of the law their own, to develop the disclosure of issues such as the use of natural resources, polluting emissions, active and passive corruption, gender equal opportunities and human rights, and how to translate this commitment into integrated reporting.

RSM moreover, actively participates in the academic initiatives that are developing in this area in order to offer its customers the best state-of-the-art.

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