International literature research

As part of the CSR-Ready project, the partners involved carried out a comprehensive literature search on the corporate and social responsibility (CSR) practices of small and medium-sized companies in their respective regions. This research forms the starting point for further expert surveys and the development of the CSR-Ready Competence Framework.

In the following we present the procedure and first interim results of our partner UIIN from the Netherlands as an example:

The literature search began with the identification of the advantages and barriers in implementing CSR strategies in SMEs. With regard to the advantages, cost and risk reduction, competitive advantages, legitimacy and reputation are often cited as the main drivers in the literature. Obstacles are more industry-specific and also occur differently depending on the country.

In addition, the study focused on the drivers for the implementation of CSR in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups. Still, it has been difficult to articulate clearly what are the drivers and benefits of CSR for SMEs. It seems that the scope and activities of CSR change depending on the size of the company, its industry, its ecosystem, its country and the current political, technological and economic situation. Third, UIIN focused on the Dutch CSR context for SMEs. The Netherlands is often referred to as one of the most progressive and leading countries for corporate CSR practices and CSR guidelines / legal requirements. Indeed, there are several initiatives in both the private and public sectors. The Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition consists of eight Dutch multinational companies whose aim is to promote business models for sustainable growth that combine economic profitability with ecological and social progress. At the public level, the government provides a basic framework for CSR in business and several instruments to help companies take into account CSR practices.

These interim results are now being further elaborated and, together with the results of the other project partners and the expert surveys, condensed into a comprehensive CSR-ready competence framework.

You can find more information about the project here: CSR ready or on the project homepage: www.csrready.eu

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