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Corporate Social Responsibility in times of Covid-19

A hectic time, a great responsibility for everyone

We live in a hectic time. The pressures and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt on all sides of the world and at all levels of society. Both on a sociological and an economic level. This ensures that policy agendas of administrators look different. Survival is the motto for many organizations. At the top of the agenda is optimal management and even reducing the Total Cost of Ownership. Does this mean that sustainability and investments are not a priority now..?

Trends within the era of Covid-19

The virus that quietly invaded our society screams oh so loudly in our living rooms and on our work floor. There is a large group of organizations and inpiduals who are having a particularly hard time. Think of the catering industry, the retailer and the hairdresser. 

Nevertheless, some remarkable things are happening today. The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is reaching record highs, private jet bookings soar to record heights (fun pun) and supermarkets are making record sales. The Dutch-Belgium Ahold Delhaize posted a record increase of 13.8%, which is good for a total turnover of more than 74 billion euros. The latter may sound logical, but there is much more to it. Consumers are increasingly buying online (groceries) and have an increasing need for organic, fresh and healthy food. Despite or perhaps because of the crisis, people want to eat healthier.

We also see an increase in initiatives against food waste. Examples are Wonky and Too Good to Go from Ghent. Initiatives that use food or products that are normally thrown away and that offer them to consumers at an attractive price. 

What we see in this is that although we are almost forced to live in a state of survival, we still look ahead to the future. It is fair to say that this is on the one hand because of awareness and idealism, but also because, with today’s knowledge, interesting cost savings can also occur. The one (no longer) excludes the other. This also applies to organizations.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Many people are familiar with the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). If you then ask people what exactly Corporate Social Responsibility is, logically you often get answers that are based on sustainability and the environment. What many people do not know, however, is that Corporate Social Responsibility, or own the CSR model, also has an ethical and economic aspect. Within the management philosophy, a company that is environmentally conscious, but is at an economic loss, is not CSR-proof. If you take this as a starting point, it means that Tesla has a sustainable product, but due to the red annual figures does not meet the standards of Corporate Social Responsibility.


Now we are not going to start a scientific or ethical discussion whether this is the case or not, but we do want to zoom in on the economic aspect. It is precisely by doing business responsibly that you can be (extra) profitable. Either the short term, or the long term or, of course, both. 

Responsible business in times of Covid-19

It is precisely the pandemic that shows us even more the need for sustainability. Not only for the environment, but also your business model. Unfortunately, it is the non-sustainable organizations that are the first to fall. Organizations in 2021 are therefore only inclined to do business with other organizations that are sustainable. 

We therefore strongly advise organizations to reflect critically and look at the business model used. Experience shows that every organization has room to innovate. It is for this reason that many organizations are showing their colors and are taking the route to digital transformation. Unfortunately, organizations too often do not yet know that processes and activities can be organized more easily, better and cheaper. Often when the emergency strikes, people find out and are amazed at what is possible.

We also regularly see this reflected in the organizations we serve. The “simple” switch from a paper process or office to paperless, is already good for a saving of 50-80% on the incurred / intrinsic overhead. Then we are not even talking about the quality and job satisfaction of the professionals themselves.

We would like to ask all professionals and organizations who are reading this how you think you can become more sustainable and save costs in 2021.

Richard Naipal