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Corporate social responsibility: the experience of an SME

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) may seem to be a trend that only affects big business. However, it is much more than a trend. According to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), 95% of Fortune Global 250 companies publish a sustainable development report.

CSR is a subject of interest for big business. But what about small and medium enterprises (SME)?

What is corporate social responsibility?

CSR is defined as a company’s voluntary initiatives and actions to improve its social, environmental and economic performance and relations with its stakeholders.

These voluntary initiatives can be deployed for all types of companies, big or small!

The CSR experience at Strategia Conseil

The desire to establish a corporate social responsibility charter initially arose from our mission. It also comes from our commitment to carry out infrastructure and capital projects profitable and beneficial for today’s society and for future generations.

We want our values and our commitment to a practice geared to sustainable development to come to life concretely. We want to be a stakeholder involved in the sustainable development of the Québec social environment.

A committee of three employees was formed to promote social, environmental and societal initiatives both within and outside the organization.

The committee addressed three aspects of our corporate social responsibility:

  • ethics and integrity;
  • social and societal initiatives;
  • the environment.

After several months of reflection and several validations with management, the committee produced a charter of commitments. The purpose of this corporate social responsibility charter was to present and formalize the initiatives deployed in CSR. It also shares the firm’s values and identifies the key players and collaborators. Concrete commitments are already being applied.

Application of the Charter of Commitments: make corporate social responsibility a concrete reality

On the ethics and integrity aspect, a guide for new employees is provided to convey the rules of ethics and conduct followed by Strategia Conseil.

For societal initiatives, Strategia Conseil undertakes to invest 1% of its turnover annually in social and societal projects and causes. This has already led to volunteer involvement in the Centre CASA renovation and expansion project. Centre CASA is a non-profit organization that offers dependency prevention and treatment services.

Finally, on the environmental level, different measures have been implemented, such as reimbursement of the employees’ monthly public transit subscription. We also use package delivery by bicycle in Québec City and Montréal.

Conclusion

It is entirely possible for an SME to make concrete commitments in terms of social responsibility. Businesses of all sizes can play an active role in our community, and we encourage our partners and collaborators to do this.

The use of a defined framework can be an excellent way to begin this approach. For example, the Bureau de normalisation du Québec created the BNQ 21000 standard on steering sustainable development in a company. Several self-evaluation and monitoring tools are also accessible from the  BNQ website, as well as a method specially adapted to the SME reality.

Would you like to discuss corporate social responsibility? We will be happy to exchange ideas with you on this subject. WE invite you to respond to this email with your questions and comments.