By Susana Posada
Over the past few years, CSR has evolved at a steady pace thanks to its inclusion in the development of a natural business model. Today, there are no longer any doubts about the importance of CSR and Companies are now aware that it should be an intrinsic element in their DNA.
Different books by diverse authors have been published on the subject detailing the importance of integrating CSR into the business and the benefits of generating a commitment with their stakeholders. One of them is Cristian Rovira, Vicepresident of the SIFU Group, who explains that a social factor can become the key to differentiate itself from the competition in his book, “Competitive Social Responsibility.” Rovira highlights that sustainability and CSR should not just be a part of the strategy, but it should form a part of the business core of a Company, thereby contributing to increase the benefits while helping to create a better world.
Another author that highlights the importance of social commitment is Ignacio Álvarez de Mon, professor of Organizational Behavior at the IE Madrid Institute. In his book “Social Entrepreneurs”, Álvarez de Mon shares the example of Leroy Merlin as a committed business model. As the head of Communication and CSR of the company, this fact makes me proud.
From the time Leroy Merlin implemented our first CSR brand in 2012, I have seen how it has integrated into the value chain and comprehensive business model in all areas. This gives me great satisfaction, as this has been the result of the more than 10.000 partners that are part of the Company. We have become players that share real objectives aligned with the CSR strategy and brand of Leroy Merlin. This motivation is created by our own business model where both autonomy and initiative are incentivized. In short, this is a perfect setting for the development of “social intrapreneurs”.
To conclude, I would like to emphasize that CSR should be an integrated value of Companies and therefore enrich their corporate discourse. Today, there are still Companies that consider CSR as a parallel element that does not form an intrinsic essence of the Company, which affects a Company’s reputation in a negative way.
We live in the age of reputation. Therefore, Companies should go a step further than the products and the clients to build an image that others perceive of us. This new situation requires greater transparency on behalf of Companies. To achieve this, it is necessary to integrate values in a more tangible way to provide society with a global perspective of the activities of the Company. The ultimate goal is to generate a trustworthy and sustainable relationship over time with our stakeholders.