Social responsibility, what is it? How to achieve it?

More and more companies put social responsability, both to attract talent and to make their mark on society. We tell you more.

First, Socially Responsible Companies (ESR) are those that comply with the law and go beyond it, they also aim to dignify people and companies alike, and generate positive impacts on society in a voluntary and free way, according to the general coordinator of Corporate Social Responsibility of the Centro Mexicano de Filantropía, AC (Cemefi), Roberto F. Adame Garduño.

The association in charge of granting the certificate to Mexican and Latin American corporations has a total of 2,000 thousand certified companies of all sizes: large, medium and small.

It is a voluntary procedure and must be renewed every year, with the advantage that it can be done online.

To obtain the ESR label, you must go through a process of diagnosis and delivery of evidence. In January the forms are analyzed and in February the results are published.

Roberto F. Adame Garduño mentions some of the benefits of obtaining the ESR badge such as: increasing sales by differentiating their products; facilitate the recruitment of top-level personnel; improve understanding of legal requirements, regulatory requirements and reduce pressure from oversight agencies.

Each company can design and implement its own version of ESR that adjusts to its capacity, commitment, vocation, resources and possibilities. Adame recommends interested companies set simple but interesting goals.

Also read: What responsibilities does the company have in terms of outsourcing?

How to define the social responsibility of a company

The first step is for the company to evaluate its internal capabilities to obtain the badge; In the process, he generally realizes that he meets the ESR characteristics, in such a way that his changes are not drastic, he explains. Claudia González Huerta, director and founding partner of Forbairt, SC, an organization that advises companies to obtain their certificate.

One aspect of the ESR distinctive is family conciliation, so the expert considers that this term is very broad and can be as ambitious as installing a lactation room in the company or modest as granting paternity leave with a greater extension than what it marks the law.

In the context of the pandemic, the ESR distinctive includes flexible working hours so that parents can attend to the duties they have with their children and telework, which although it was already being targeted, in the face of the health emergency they learned to that 100% of the workers work in this modality.

When defining the donations and philanthropy of the company, Claudia González advises that the company define the social cause that it will support according to its profile.

“You can’t support everyone who asks for a donation, or donate to run out of that budget without a goal.”

The second recommended step is how do you support the cause? It can be in three modalities: monetary, volunteering or through products.

In any case, large, medium and small companies must create their regulations and be clear in their ESR policies. The expert recommends creating a social responsibility committee where senior managers are involved; strengthen internal and external communication and publicize the code of ethics and conduct among employees.

Can you be socially responsible and outsource staff?

Given the proposal of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to completely eliminate subcontracting, experts consider that this modality is necessary and should be improved given the reality that private initiative does not have the capacity to absorb the 1.2 million people who join annually to the labor market.

Ricardo Grayeb Alarcon, director of Grayeb Abogados, a firm specialized in labor law, explains that the essence of outsourcing is that it is legal to subcontract to those who are not within the fundamental social purpose of the company.

One aspect for which outsourcing is used is profit sharing. If it were limited, Mexican companies would be more encouraged to hire directly, considers Grayeb and explains why:

Companies usually distribute 10% of the net profit, a practice that is recommended to continue, but with the limit of delivering a maximum of one month’s salary to the worker since there are cases in which the net profit of a large company with few employees causes the distribution of profits equivalent to two years’ salary, which is out of all proportion, according to the expert.

If outsourcing disappears, there could be massive cuts due to the inability of many companiesTherefore, the industrial chambers propose that this labor figure be better supervised and instrumented.

Coincidentally, Cynthia Valeriano Lopez, a professor at the School of Government and Social Sciences, of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Toluca, proposes that the State comply with its tasks of monitoring this figure, which has become a fundamental link to generate sources of employment.

Environmental responsibility and companies, how to enter it?

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the United Nations were established in 2015 to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for future generations. In the Sustainable Development Report in which the performance of member countries is rated, Mexico ranks 69 out of 193, far from the top three: Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

These objectives have become a benchmark for companies; although, he acknowledges Christiane Andrea Molina Brockmann, director of the Center for Conscious Companies for a Sustainable Future, at Tecnológico de Monterrey, however, companies should prioritize three aspects: profits, social benefit and positive ecological impact.

Regarding this last item, the expert considers that it is a complex process since companies can enter it but without sacrificing their profitability because many jobs depend on them, and in reality it is a work that is achieved jointly with the government, civil society organizations and citizenship.

An example is Bimbo, the Mexican bakery with a worldwide presence, which changed the fleet of its delivery trucks to electric ones, or the Alpha Hardin company, dedicated to corporate interior design, which, through the “Grow with the work” program, supports your employees to complete their elementary, middle and high school studies.

Both companies are a small sample of what environmental responsibility is and its benefits.

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