In 2016 DFGE started a series of various CSR checklists to easily improve organizations’ sustainability programs. The first one was general on the corporate governance, and how companies should structure their program in general. Afterwards, DFGE focused on the core subjects listed by ISO 26000, the norm on Social Responsibility. Such topics included: environment, labor practices, human rights, community involvement and development, consumer issues. The last CSR checklist now focuses on fair operating practices
Greifenberg/Munich, 28 February 2017 – DFGE – Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy – was founded in 1999 as a spin-off the Technical University of Munich and offers complete consulting, software and audit solutions in the field of sustainability. DFGE partners with internationally-recognized reporting frameworks to better support companies in their sustainability management and reporting. DFGE has launched in May 2016 a series of press releases composed of CSR checklists organizations can use to improve the quality of their CSR program. This final CSR list focuses on fair operating practices.
1 – Is the program structured?
Organizations are encouraged to structure their program:
- Run a risk analysis
- Engage higher level of management, and important stakeholders
- Appoint dedicated responsibilities
- Setting targets and measuring them with dedicated metrics
- Transparently report on the program
2 – How does your organization fight corruption and ensure fair competition?
“Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” (Transparency international)
Corruption can take many forms: bribery, money-laundering, embezzlement … Avoiding corruption is key to avoid unnecessary trials and scandals, and to reinforce the current legal institutions. Also, anti-corruption leads to a fairer money repartition.
To implement an anti-corruption program:
- Have you raised awareness?
- Have you trained the employees, especially the exposed populations (managers, salesmen, purchasers…)?
- Is there a whistle-blowing system where such cases can be reported?
- Does the organization deal with such cases (investigations, sanctions …)?
- Does the organization resort to the public authorities for such cases?
Such actions can be applied to ensure fair competition.
“Anticompetitive practices refer to a wide range of business practices in which a firm or group of firms may engage in order to restrict inter-firmncompetition to maintain or increase their relative market position and profits without necessarily providing goods and services at a lower cost or of higher quality.” (OECD)
Respecting the competition framework is key for operating fairly. To ensure fair competition, the organization can apply the same actions listed above.
3 – Does your company practice responsible political involvement?
Political involvement should be done in a way that it avoids corruption. According to GRI, there is a risk of corruption: “Direct or indirect contributions to political causes can present risks of corruption as they may be used for undue influence or to corrupt the political process.” (GRI, G4-SO6). ISO 26 000 states that “Organizations should prohibit use of undue influence and avoid behavior, such as manipulation, intimidation and coercion, that can undermine the public political process.” (ISO 26 000)
To make sure the organization is engaging responsibly at the political level, companies can use these questions:
- Are the representatives trained and aware of such topics?
- Does the company communicate transparently on the lobbying, political contributions and political involvement?
- Does the organization avoid controversial political contributions?
- Is there a whistle blowing system to report potential corruption cases?
- Is there a responsible lobbying strategy in place?
- Are there controls carried out?
4 – How does the company include social responsibility in the value chain?
Social responsibility in the value chain is also called Sustainable Procurement. “Procurement is called sustainable when it integrates requirements, specifications and criteria that are compatible and in favor of the protection of the environment, of social progress and in support of economic development, namely by seeking resource efficiency, improving the quality of products and services and ultimately optimizing costs.” (UNGM)
It can take two forms: inclusion of such criteria at supplier level (on their management practices regarding health and safety, waste, human rights, etc.) or at product level (like eco-efficient and less polluting products). It helps mitigating risks in the supply chain, especially if the production impacts are located at supplier level.
To assess if the company has implemented a sustainable procurement program:
- Does the company run supplier risk assessments (including on sustainability criteria?)
- Does the company include sustainability criteria in tenders?
- Does the company assess or audit the suppliers on their sustainability performance?
- Does the company provide resources to help suppliers improve their sustainability performance? (trainings, workshops, help in the implementation of corrective action plan…)
- Does the company buy products with certain environmental criteria (eco-labeled, energy efficient products)?
- Does the company engaged with companies with a social purpose (like Fair Trade for example)?
5 – How the respect for property rights is made possible?
What are property rights? ISO 26 000 defines it as follows: “Property rights cover both physical property and intellectual property and include interest in land and other physical assets, copyrights, patents, geographical indicator rights, funds, moral rights and other rights”.
Right to own property is a human right. It is important to protect your own property as a company, and also to respect others to avoid any kind of legal action, or reputation risk, and to respect human rights and law. To check where a company stands:
- Have you raised awareness, for example through campaigns or the code of conduct?
- Have you trained employees on such topics?
- Is there a system to report breach?
- Are alleged cases dealt with?
- Do you resort to public authorities to settle such cases?
- Do you pay fair compensation for property?
- Do you have controls against counterfeiting/piracy?
- Do you protect your own intellectual property with various rules (IT rules, access, changes in passwords …)
This non-exhaustive list aims at giving a broad framework to help companies further investigate the field of fair operating practices. It is strongly recommended to check with the legal department what exactly befall legally to the company, and ask for further support in this sense.
If you also want to read the recent 6 check lists – please see
- No 1 – A checklist to easily improve sustainability programs
- No 2 – A checklist to easily improve your environmental program
- No 3 – A checklist to easily improve labor practices
- No 4 – A checklist to improve respect to human rights
- No 5 – A checklist to easily improve community program
- No 6 – A checklist to easily improve consumer issues management
DFGE – institute for energy, ecology and economy – was founded in 1999 as spin-off of the Technical University of Munich and offers complete consulting, software and audit solutions in the field of CSR. Our offer SustainabilityIntelligence features management and reporting solutions related to CSR and sustainability topics (among them being greenhouse gas emissions), and refers to international norms in this field. Our clients comprise international companies (DAX and fortune 500), SMEs, governmental organizations or territorial authorities. For more information, contact us: or visit our website www.dfge.de
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