Lessons and options for an integrated European Approach to CSR – Co-funded by the European Commission - DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

The European Strategy of Plan Europe 2020 asks all social and economic actors for interventions to ensure an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth. Therefore new models to run an enterprise are required, also considering the context of global economic crisis.

Co-operation projects between profit and non-profit are improving rapidly and they cannot run out exclusively in economic partnerships, but they have to lead us to rethink of a new local responsible Welfare and a sustainable competitiveness.

Financed by DG Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion of European Commission, LOIEs aimed at promoting the exchange of success experiences on the interaction among competitiveness, CSR (Company Social Responsibility) and social inclusion with other European countries (Spain and Bulgaria).

Objective

To encourage profit SMEs to introduce and implement CSR principles and practices by stimulating the dialogue between profit and non-profit enterprise as a leverage to influence business behaviours towards ethic principles and long-lasting competitiveness strategies on a global market.

Actions

  • Open info-days on specific themes to inform and sensitize companies about CSR principles and ISO 26000 guidelines.
  • Training pathways/exchange of success stories for couples of enterprises (profit and non-profit) under the supervision of CSR experts.
  • 3 Study visits to Partner Countries to develop and test a sole model of collaboration, which can be transferred to other contests.

Methodology

The main idea was to encourage SMEs to introduce and implement CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) principles and practices by stimulating the dialogue between profit corporate and social enterprises as a leverage to influence business behaviours towards ethic principles and long-lasting competitiveness strategies on a global market. This was done by using the definition of CSR and ISO 25000 as a guidance, in order to avoid the risk to confuse CSR with certification. In pursuing this objective Public Institution (Pas) and Intermediate Organizations (IOs) were involved in the project as facilitators of the process.

A working methodology called “Twinning Company Pathway” was experienced in each of the three Countries involved in LOIEs (Bulgaria, Italy and Spain). The inspiring idea of the Twinning is that a fruitful collaboration between profit and non-profit companies may lead to the adoption of an integrated and systemic approach to CSR inside their organizations, if they both commit to exchanging ideas, experiences and practices on an equal basis. So the twinning pathway is supposed to be an experiment of “good contamination” between profit and non-profit companies, in view of letting them acquire a stronger awareness on specific strengths and weaknesses in terms of their own effective CSR and eventually activate or strengthen more responsible practices.

Partners

LOIES combined both public authorities and profit/non-profit private bodies:

  • Piemonte Region Direction Education, Training, VET and Work (Italy)
  • ORSO Social Cooperative (Italy)
  • Divitech S.p.A profit company (Italy)
  • Second Chance - non-profit company(Bulgaria)
  • Vis Unita Fortior (Bulgaria)
  • The Central Commission for preventing anti-social behaviour of minors (Bulgaria)
  • Instituto de Desarrollo Comuntario (Spain)
  • Ayuntamiento de Murcia (Spain)
  • Don Consultores (Spain)

Duration: March 2012 – August 2013

Publications and outputs

  • 3 Twinning Company Pathways on CSR (implemented in each partner country)
  • 3 Final national reports on CSR draw up
  • An International Protocol of intents signed among Local Authorities, committing them to work with a social and environmental responsible approach and act as catalysts for their territory.
  • An on-line CSR self-evaluation tool put for free at the disposal of companies “CSR4Utool” www.csr4utool.org
  • A methodology for integrating CSR by company twinning tested, validated in a Manual and spread. Handbook
  • Integrating CSR by company twinning. Methodological approach, Elena Dall’Amico, Elena Aurora Ferrara, Andrea Martra (Ceipiemonte S.c.p.a.), August 2013
  • Caso studio LOIES Cross Fertilization tra mondo profit e imprese sociali, Laura Corazza, in “Impresa Sociale, n. 3 April 2013
  • Percorsi di gemellaggio tra mondo profit e imprese sociali. I risultati preliminari del caso LOIEs, L. Corazza, M. Cisi, E. Dall’Amico, E.A. Ferrara, A. Martra, Paper Colloquio Scientifico sull’Impresa Sociale (VII edition), Torino, 7-8 June 2013.