Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was born with the purpose of companies generating a positive impact on people and the planet from the inside out.
This idea aligns with the UN’s Social Development Goals (SDGs), where sustainability, health, equality, and education are fundamental pillars. Throughout this article, we will look at how they complement CSR, using our organization as an example.
Before doing so, we believe it is appropriate to point out that ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility are related, although they are not the same thing.
- Business ethics is oriented internally through corporate values and compliance with current legislation.
- CSR goes further and is a voluntary attitude that impacts the external environment.
We will expand on this last concept.
What is Corporate Social Responsibility?
To define what Corporate Social Responsibility is, we first break down each of its terms using the Cambridge Dictionary:
|Corporate||Relating to a large company.|
|Social||Relating to society and the way people live together.|
|Responsibility||Something that it is your job or duty to deal with.|
Therefore, CSR is a set of policies, programs, and activities within private economic entities so that they not only generate economic benefits for themselves but also make a standard, honest and constant contribution to the environment through their business activities, to improve social, economic and environmental aspects.
Thus, when we speak of this concept, we do so from a dual perspective that defines the characteristics of Corporate Social Responsibility: ecological and human. This means that the benefits of its operations must include:
- Environmental policies to take care of the planet.
- Social policies for its stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and society in general.
It is essential because it is supported by the State Council for Corporate Social Responsibility (CERSE) through the Spanish Ministry of Labor and Social Economy. It promotes CSR initiatives by different private entities, especially SMEs.
Corporate Social Responsibility types
This corporate concept addresses two areas of action: internal and external. They are not separated from each other because both kinds of CSR are directly related. For example: if an employee can telework (internal commitment), they contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions (external commitment).
It is that which is within the corporation and which is executed directly from the inside and with its agents. It implies
- The equality of working conditions and salaries of employees.
- Include in the workforce people with disabilities or with an unequal profile.
- Reconciliation of family and work.
- Purchase work materials or corporate gifts to associations of people with special abilities or an NGO.
- The application of ecological energy resources (electric vehicle charging stations).
- Savings in work materials or that these come from recycled materials, etc.
In this case, the activity is very outwardly focused and impacts society in general in the factors mentioned above (economy, environment, and society).
These are, for example, donations, volunteer work, direct financing of solidarity actions, communication campaigns, etc.
Corporate Social Responsibility: an example at Smowltech
When we are asked what the main objective of Smowltech’s corporate social responsibility is, we answer: to leave a positive footprint on people’s education and their possibilities to grow professionally without harming the ecosystem.
As a company in the EdTech (Education Technology) sector, we fulfill social responsibility by definition because, with our work, we contribute directly to new educational models with IT tools, which positively impact society.
Thus, implementing SMOWL software in educational institutions represents a before and an after. To confirm this, we included a user survey to measure these three objectives:
1- Strengthening the quality of online training: we calculated the number of users who have validated a degree thanks to SMOWL.
2- Improving university and corporate educational accessibility on equal terms and the opportunity for academic and professional growth and development: we measure the number of users with disabilities, users far from training centers, and users with time and economic restrictions.
3- Reduction of environmental impact by reducing travel expenses (less CO2 emissions), energy resources, and printed materials.
We also add to this triad the contribution to the education sector itself through its main representatives:
4- Efficiency of the teaching staff because it evaluates students on their knowledge, not their behavior during the exam.
5- Ease for institutions to offer a 100% online education.
All this is part of external CSR, but what about internal CSR? Of course, there is also a place for internal CSR.
Our internal social commitment program
In addition to the direct implications of our proctoring, to ensure our social efficiency and to be true to our principles, we have created The Blue Wings Program, which encompasses all Smowltech’s CSR activities and initiatives, both those that remain within and those that have a positive impact on society.
Within our company, we carry out numerous actions, among them:
- Continuous internal training of employees in various fields.
- Consultation with the staff on actions that may be of direct or indirect interest to us.
- Anonymous and secure communication of incidents.
- Integration policy for groups with recognized handicaps and at risk of social exclusion.
- Relationship with suppliers and customers in line with our corporate ethics.
- Voluntary solidarity activities twice a year with the entire workforce.
- Reconciliation of family and work with flexible working hours and teleworking.
EdTechX ESG & Impact Award Finalists
The EdTechX ESG & Impact Awards are awarded to education companies that comply with environmental, social, and governmental policies and pursue positive strategies within education and learning.
This year, the ESG & Impact Awards 2022, has recognized us as a finalist in the ESG & Impact category which includes concepts such as reach and affordability, quality of education and skills attainment and employment, efficiency and sustainability, customer privacy and data security, marketing responsibility, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and business ethics among others.
We are delighted and proud to be the only Spanish company included in the list of winners and finalists. We are clear about the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility in our company; In this sense, we downplay the significance of the awards and emphasize that we are naturally socially responsible.