Marc Lauer (INDR) : CSR Platform
Marc Lauer, President of INDR says CSR is an opportunity for each company to improve its governance, to step up its commitment with society and to reduce its environmental impacts. Interview.
Can you introduce the INDR in a few words?
INDR was created in 2007 by the Luxembourg employers’ association UEL, with the mission to give guidance to companies in their CSR practices. It exists to help them contribute to sustainable development and improve their competitiveness and their image. In this regard, INDR offers businesses comprehensive support with the national programme ESR-ENTREPRISE RESPONSABLE, which covers the awareness of companies, the evaluation of their level of maturity in CSR and, if they so wish, the ESR label with an external verification. Furthermore, INDR promotes CSR at institutional level and stands as the national competence centre that monitors publications and academic resources on relationships between Business and Society, brings together the main sustainable development actors, and produces new CSR knowledge. As a think tank and standard-setter, INDR prepares recommendations and advice for businesses and other stakeholders.
“For a company to transform itself, leadership and a willingness to move forward is paramount.”
What are the benefits of CSR in businesses?
CSR is an opportunity for each company to improve its governance, to step up its commitment with society and to reduce its environmental impacts. It offers a coherent approach to taking action to meet society's problems that are relevant for operations as well as sustainable and resilient solutions both for the company and for society, e.g. employees' health, innovation, transparency, carbon footprint, human rights, responsible supply chain, fair wages, employability, etc. CSR has a really strong impact on knowledge: treating individuals better affects how they feel about their work, their well-being, motivation, commitment, and productivity. In terms of processes, CSR protects strategic resources, improves relationships with supply chains, heightens task efficiency, etc. And it fosters ongoing improvements, quality, innovation, the circular economy and the development of eco-friendly products. Responsible positioning and heightened transparency strengthen brand image and trust from stakeholders, which improves reputation, increases the loyalty of customers, whilst obtaining a competitive edge. And finally, financial advantages are clear: new markets generate more sales, responsible goods and services increase margins. And whilst being more resilient, effective and efficient, the company makes savings, manages risks and reduces its costs.
What are the main obstacles that can slow down companies in their CSR efforts?
For a company to transform itself, leadership and a willingness to move forward is paramount. In these times of crisis, many companies are struggling to survive and do not consider CSR a priority. They could, however, integrate CSR into their policy by delegating this task to a person especially trained and mandated to do so, with the necessary resources. Sometimes, businesses want to do everything at once. But, to begin with, it is in the company's interest to build on what already exists, for example, if it has implemented a good occupational health and safety strategy, it can develop it by including well-being, and later add human rights and HR policies, etc. It thus sets priorities that are useful for the company and its stakeholders, and that are part of continuous improvement. INDR’s support programme, more particularly the ESR Guide, strongly emphasises these points.