Sustainability - Spain
Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
We are striving for sustainable economic development and societal and environmental responsibility, in order to ensure economic growth and employment in the future.
In addition to meeting the requirements laid down by law, companies may decide to establish responsible practices as part of their business strategy, taking into account their impact on customers, staff, shareholders, local communities, the environment, and society in general.
The corporate responsibility of a company starts by matching the reality of the company with its identity and image, being authentic, inspiring trust, and acting responsibly towards: suppliers, customers, shareholders, employees, and meeting its obligations, inter alia.
At the social level, a responsible company may also contribute to the community in which it is based, ensure equality among men and women, adopt measures to improve the social well-being of its employees in terms of: working conditions, training, professional development opportunities, combining work and personal life. Other initiatives in this area include assisting those who have difficulties being incorporated into the job market.
The environmental liability of a company requires it to go beyond what is required by the rules and ensure the sustainable operation of the company, its services and products.
A number of companies take environmental factors and factors relating to liability into account when making purchases or concluding contracts.
The company’s corporate social responsibility also includes: ensuring the company’s future, creating wealth and employment in the long-term, through innovation, the pursuit of quality and competitiveness in terms of its operations, products, services and or customer service.
A number of companies take their corporate responsibility initiatives even further, undertaking charity projects or projects to support the environment.
There are companies that are socially responsible but have not realised it. Others can adopt small initiatives appropriate to their size and standing in order to become more responsible. In other words, SMEs are also required to take initiatives to this end, and be responsible.
The company benefits from these initiatives by enhancing its reputation, credibility, trust and loyalty among people. Prestige and social recognition. Quality with regard to its operations, products, services and customer service. Future opportunities opening up to the company. These factors impact on results.
To make the most of these actions, build trust and loyalty in the company, it is important to raise awareness and communicate these actions, during professional meetings, to customers, by means of quality certificates or publicity, inter alia.
Social responsibility covers companies, non-governmental organisations and public authorities.
Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Corporate social responsibility is promoted by public authorities, non-governmental organisations, foundations and different types of organisations.
The European Union urges companies to adopt this sense of responsibility, in order for them to integrate practices consistent with social and environmental sustainability.
In Spain, the Ministry of Labour and Immigration is responsible for corporate social responsibility policies.
The National Council for Corporate Social Responsibility (Consejo Estatal de Responsabilidad Social de las Empresas) was established by the Ministry of Labour and Immigration. It includes administrations, companies, unions and prestigious organisations and institutions of the field. It is a consultative body which advises the government on corporate social responsibility.
The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade also engages in actions to promote this.
The Retos Network, launched in Spain under the Community eQual initiative, brings an approach to social responsibility that is both multi-dimensional (in that not only companies are socially responsible, but also public bodies, social partners and citizens themselves) and territorial (focusing on local development).
A growing number of Spanish non-profit organisations are working to promote sustainable management. They encourage collaboration and the exchange of experiences and training.
In Spain, a number of other authorities, foundations and business associations take initiatives to promote corporate social responsibility.
Auditing standards and certificates
Companies that are responsible and wish to make the most of this responsibility must communicate it. One way of communicating this corporate responsibility is to undergo an audit. Audits are used to certify that the company complies with standards on social and environmental responsibility and quality. A certificate of accreditation is issued following a successful audit.
This type of action is promoted by the Administration and also by certain associations or private companies.
Applications for certification according to international standards in Spain are submitted through companies accredited by the National Accreditation Body (ENAC), a government organisation responsible for the evaluation and control of the accreditation system nationwide. The award of a certificate is subject to passing a number of audits which demonstrate that the company in question complies with all the requirements for obtaining a particular certificate.
EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme), Environmental Audit and Management Scheme, is among those entities promoted by the Administration.
The law requires businesses to comply with minimum social and environmental rules.
Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade
Ministry of Labour and Immigration
The Retos Network
Chambers of Commerce
The CSR support initiative for SMEs of the Directorate General for SME Policy is intended in particular to improve the competitiveness of these companies through the incorporation of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy into their business strategies.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: