What is "Corporate social responsibility (CSR)"?

The European Commission defines Corporate Social Responsibilities as the process whereby enterprises integrate social, environmental, ethical and human rights concerns into their core strategy, operations and integrated performance, in close collaboration with their stakeholders, with the aim of:

  • maximizing the creation of shared value for their owners/shareholders and society at large.
  • identifying, preventing and mitigating their possible adverse impacts.

In other words, it can be said that CSR requires companies to pay attention to activities and processes that are not exclusively linked to profit. The purpose therefore it is precisely that of combining the economic objectives with the social and environmental objectives of the reference area, with a view to sustainability, or rather with the aim of preserving the environmental, social and human heritage for current and future generations

Thanks to the growing interest on the part of society in environmental problems and the evolution of lifestyles and consumption, a new conception of the role of the company is emerging, in the sense of a broader recognition of its responsibilities towards the social and environmental context in which it operates. From this perspective, therefore, we can speak of the social role of the company, meaning by this the function of creating value that is not only purely economic, since the needs of the society, which it aims to satisfy, go beyond this aspect.

Some examples of practices related to CSR are:

  • sponsorships for non-profit initiatives,
  • company welfare in favor of employees,
  • commitment to reduce the environmental impact of the company,
  • support to the territory through charity initiatives, etc.

Finally, it is important to underline how the adoption by companies of the concepts related to CSR does not depend on regulatory or legal constraints, but on the awareness that this positive and proactive attitude towards its stakeholders can in fact lead to a long-term competitive advantage.

Author: Stefano Treu, APE FVG - Agenzia Per l'Energia del Friuli-Venezia Giulia


  1. A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility (ENG)
  2. Definition of CSR Glossariomarketing.it (ITA)