The health of our planet and the defence of its people or, more correctly, of its stakeholders, are two of the primary reasons that have brought the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the forefront, leading to the creation of models of development that are compatible with the eco-centric vision, known also as deep ecology, and that are guarantors of the more extensive common or social interest. In the world of business - excellent protagonist in the search for sustainable solutions - interest in CSR emerges from the firm’s awareness of playing an important social function, and also from its use as a tool to improve the perceived image and to enhance the company’s product. However, among Italian firms, there exist numerous contradictions. While on the one hand we witness an acceleration in the process of acquisition of management principles and solutions, on the other the relationship between supply and demand of labour (the former chronically unfavourable) has legitimised obsolete management methods that neglect the social function of a company and that revert to traditional business concepts in which the maximisation of profit takes precedence over internal and external equilibriums. To this end we are witnessing, unfortunately on a daily basis, the negative effects of limited investments by companies in the area of safety and the general discontent of workers in regard to precarious employment, inadequate salaries and ill-defined professional growth paths. This analysis measures the levels of compliance of Italian firms to issues of social responsibility by elaborating upon the concept of CSR and the effects of the adoption of socially responsible behaviour on the firm’s competitiveness. In particular, the level of CSR in Italy was analyzed with reference to the principles of Global Compact (GC) and the adoption of the standard SA8000, an international certification of compliance with social rights. The study highlights some inconsistencies in our country. We refer to the discrepancy between the number of companies with SA8000 certification and the rather depressing conclusions of research on the security conditions existing in parts of our production system. We also refer to the leadership position of Italy in the number of enterprises with a SA8000 certification, and at the same time the low levels of compliance with the principles of GC. This probably explains the position occupied by Italy, which has been included among the cluster of countries asserters, in the latest report titled "The State of Responsible competitiveness" (July 2007), as opposed to many other European countries considered as innovators, especially those from northern Europe. This probably also explains the assessment that compares Italy with the emerging economies of export-led growth and with the less developed economies of Europe, Asia (see contribution on Japan) and North America. Finally, we also refer to the lack of initiative and sharing of information on social responsibility. Once again we are witnessing a weak synergy between the business community, institutions and social organizations.

“La competitività responsabile d’impresa: il punto sulla CSR in Italia”

DE CHIARA, Alessandra;
2009-01-01

Abstract

The health of our planet and the defence of its people or, more correctly, of its stakeholders, are two of the primary reasons that have brought the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the forefront, leading to the creation of models of development that are compatible with the eco-centric vision, known also as deep ecology, and that are guarantors of the more extensive common or social interest. In the world of business - excellent protagonist in the search for sustainable solutions - interest in CSR emerges from the firm’s awareness of playing an important social function, and also from its use as a tool to improve the perceived image and to enhance the company’s product. However, among Italian firms, there exist numerous contradictions. While on the one hand we witness an acceleration in the process of acquisition of management principles and solutions, on the other the relationship between supply and demand of labour (the former chronically unfavourable) has legitimised obsolete management methods that neglect the social function of a company and that revert to traditional business concepts in which the maximisation of profit takes precedence over internal and external equilibriums. To this end we are witnessing, unfortunately on a daily basis, the negative effects of limited investments by companies in the area of safety and the general discontent of workers in regard to precarious employment, inadequate salaries and ill-defined professional growth paths. This analysis measures the levels of compliance of Italian firms to issues of social responsibility by elaborating upon the concept of CSR and the effects of the adoption of socially responsible behaviour on the firm’s competitiveness. In particular, the level of CSR in Italy was analyzed with reference to the principles of Global Compact (GC) and the adoption of the standard SA8000, an international certification of compliance with social rights. The study highlights some inconsistencies in our country. We refer to the discrepancy between the number of companies with SA8000 certification and the rather depressing conclusions of research on the security conditions existing in parts of our production system. We also refer to the leadership position of Italy in the number of enterprises with a SA8000 certification, and at the same time the low levels of compliance with the principles of GC. This probably explains the position occupied by Italy, which has been included among the cluster of countries asserters, in the latest report titled "The State of Responsible competitiveness" (July 2007), as opposed to many other European countries considered as innovators, especially those from northern Europe. This probably also explains the assessment that compares Italy with the emerging economies of export-led growth and with the less developed economies of Europe, Asia (see contribution on Japan) and North America. Finally, we also refer to the lack of initiative and sharing of information on social responsibility. Once again we are witnessing a weak synergy between the business community, institutions and social organizations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11574/32525
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