May 28, 2009
The importance of social and environmental responsibility
The companies and especially those who are listed are major socio-economic actors, whose decisions and actions have macroscopic consequences on a level as large as that of certain states. In this regard, the companies should evolve towards taking into account their corporate social responsibility (CSR). The degree of taking into account the CSR becomes a criteria of choice for investment institutions (Investment funds, pension funds) when buying or retaining equities.
A lack of accurate and shared data
Rating agencies are trying to grade, according to criteria dependent on the ethical priorities of their customers (social, animal care, environmental, gambling prevention and alcohol …). However, the extent of the consideration of social and environmental responsibility of companies comes up against the lack of reliable data, which can be compared from one company to another. Agencies depend on data that companies make available, which are often credible, coherent and relevant, but the absence of a common regulatory framework leaves the door open to abuse to a “green” (or “greenwashing”) communication. It is therefore crucial for the measurement of social and environmental responsibilities of companies to be reliable and credible; it relies on a set of consistent measurement criteria that are measurable, quantifiable and able to be consolidated. For example we can determine the standards of a company by the combination of actions from all its subsidiaries.
We propose a list of social and environmental parameters that can be quantified and consolidated with goals to regulate “green” corporate communication and ensure their internal policy matches their words. For each criteria of management, the kind of the incentive is set between brackets.
•1 Social parameters
Companies’ employees are people working under contract for over 3 months (regardless of the kind of contract):
- Duration of work really measured through the average of employed people (reducing the work duration in order to divide it) ;
- Difference of work duration really measured between the 10%of those who work least and 10% of those who work most (avoiding the gap between the so-called “efficient, performing and essential” and so-called “useless and exchangeable at will “) ;
- Number of temporary employees under a temporary work contract and subcontractors employed as representatives, in proportion to the total number of employed people (reducing precariousness, foster internal flexibility instead of external flexibility) ;
- Average seniority in the company (avoiding the “disposable employees”) ;
- Seniority difference between the 10% most recently employed workers and the 10% of workers with most years in the company (avoiding gaps between “insecure workers ” and “established ones”) ;
- Average duration of job research for people leaving the company within the framework of a redundancy (pushing the companies to maintain the employability of their staff, maintaining the human capital without damaging it) ;
- Number of work accidents and number of days of stoppages that are a result of it, in proportion to the number of employed people (improving the safety at work);
- Number of people affected by work-related diseases (deafness, silicosis, etc.) and number of sick days, in proportion to the number of employed people (improving hygiene and working conditions) ;
- The degree of sick health care cover for employed people (promoting the health cover in countries where it is not established at a national level, particularly US, UK, etc.) ;
- Total amount of the 10 highest pay packages in the company (the pay includes the salary, the luncheon vouchers, transport, contribution to accommodation, subsidies to the Work council, active profit share, stock options, etc.), and the ratio of this amount to the average of the lowest amount in the category ;
- Pay difference between the 10% best-paid workers and the 10% lowest-paid ones (reducing the inequalities between salaries) ;
- 2 Environmental parameters
- gross amount of company’s sold products;
- gross amount of company’s purchased or retrieved products (creation of a kind of company’s total material-balance sheet in order to reduce the intermediate consumption of products and to increase the biomass volume production of the company. All consumed substances are basic materials taken from nature where savings are possible. The universal unit of substance quantity is mass);
- consumed fossil energy (oil, gas, coal), reduced to value added unit (increase the energy output of the fossil energy);
- renewable or waste-based consumed energy, reduced to the global energy consumption (increase the use of renewable);
- global consumed energy, reduced to value added unit (increase the global energy output);
- gross amount of non-recycled heavy metals (and other dangerous products) bought by the company (if they are non-recycled when bought it corresponds to a net environmental waste), in proportion to value added unit;
- gross amount of Unusual Industrial Wastes, of Special Industrial Wastes and of Toxic Wastes, in proportion to the value added unit, allocated functions of whether they are put in a dump, incinerated or recycled (reduce these wastages);
- gross amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere, in proportion to value added unit, allocated functions of their nature (CO2, CH4, CFC, NO2) (reduce these emissions into the atmosphere);
- gross amount of gas deteriorating the ozone layer (the CFC) released into the atmosphere, in proportion to value added unit;
- gross amount of gas creating acid rain (NOx and SOx) released into the atmosphere, in proportion to the value added unit.