Taking Sustainability Further

A company is a direct part of the society in which it conducts its activities. Creation of profit should go hand in hand with responsibility towards the society. Currently, the term corporate social responsibility (CSR) is used widely, which denotes the method of doing business in a way that focuses not just on the economic but also the social and environmental part of the activities.

Legal requirements

The legal arrangement of the requirements and procedures for taking sustainability further is mainly contained in the Labour Code, the Act on Collective Bargaining, the Act on Consumer Protection and also in the Act on the Conservation of Nature and the Countryside.

  • Labour Code
  • Act on Collective Bargaining
  • Act on Consumer Protection
  • Act on the Conservation of Nature and the Countryside

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility means companies taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, staff, etc., and promoting the public interest, i.e. voluntarily eliminating practices which damage the community.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is responsible for implementing corporate social responsibility laws.

In order for a company to best use the benefits of corporate responsibility, the attitude toward responsibility must be true and trustworthy. Therefore, it should be transparent, thorough, impressionable and real – the public needs to trust that the company is convinced of its correctness.The results and incidence of corporate social responsibility can be divided into three areas: Economic, social, and environmental

In the economic area, a socially responsible company is expected to conduct business in a transparent manner and maintain good relations with customers, investors, and business partners. The impact of its business on local economy is also monitored, as well as the impact on national and global economy, for instance through development of employment, fight against corruption or educational campaigns. Among the specific tools in this area are the code of ethics, provision of truthful information, customer care, usage and thorough observation of legal and professional standards, timely payment of mature liabilities, observing the code of advertising ethics, etc.

The social area covers above all, care for employees, their involvement in decision-making, provision of feedback, employee education, flexible work form, financial and non-financial evaluation of employees, fair work conditions, non-discrimination, equal opportunities, support of family life, etc. We can also include here corporate donorship and volunteer work, fair trade, and similar activities.

The environmental area has currently been the most discussed one. In this area a company focuses on savings of energy, water and other raw materials, sorting of trash, environmentally friendly materials and products, or, for instance, reduction in using fuel. Although some costs expended in relation to environmental policy of a company can first affect short-term profitability of a company, significant savings should occur in the long run as a result of applying some measures (especially those related to the energy demands of operation).

Corporate social responsibility (CRS) is a component of business strategy. There is no national body in the Czech Republic. In the sphere of employment and social affairs in relations between employees and employers CRS is applied, for example, through the institution of collective bargaining.

Within the framework of collective bargaining there are corporate collective agreements and higher level collective agreements, which make it possible for certain undertakings to be voluntarily agreed over and above the legally required minimum. The practice of expanding the binding character of higher level collective agreements also applies to collective bargaining.

Standards

Quality management system ISO 9001:2000

The internationally applied standard ISO 9001:2000 is applicable to any production activity or service provided. It was created by the International Organisation for Standardisation, the aim of which is to establish international standards for a Quality Management System.

Environmental management system ISO 14001

It includes widely-used environmental management procedures and places great emphasis on the attitude of the organisation to the environment. An entity satisfying the conditions of the ISO 14001 standard supports environmental protection and the prevention of pollution in balance with social and economic needs.

Certification under this ISO standard may be performed by a certification body accredited, for example, with the Czech Accreditation Institute.

The EMAS environmental management and auditing system

EMAS is a voluntary system for companies that have agreed to assess and improve their environmental profile. An organisation deciding to adopt this scheme also undertakes to provide relevant information to the public. The environmental declaration of the company must be verified by an accredited third party.

OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety management system

The standard helps to eliminate or minimise risk for employees or other persons who would be exposed to risk through the activities of the company. The standard helps to demonstrate fulfilment of legal requirements and is a significant step towards creating and sustaining an environment that is good both for employees and for business.

Certification under this ISO standard may be performed by a certification body accredited, for example, with the Czech Accreditation Institute.

Social responsibility SA8000

International standard SA8000 is recognised worldwide as the reference standard for improving working conditions. The various chapters of this standard specify requirements for hours of work, health and safety, prevention of discrimination, the work of children and young people, forced labour, freedom of association, disciplinary practices, rewards for the fulfilment of basic needs.

The law requires businesses to comply with minimum social and environmental rules.

Administrative procedures

Certification of standards

Quality management standards

A detailed method for implementing a quality management system in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 is available on the following link:

Environmental management standards

The following links contain a method for implementing the ISO 14001 environmental management system and the EMAS environmental management and auditing system.

Occupational safety management standards

The link below contains information on implementing the OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety management system.

Personalised help and advice

Association of International and Czech Corporations and Companies. The association pursues observation of ethics in entrepreneurial practice, true fulfilment of corporate social responsibility and supports cooperation between the corporate, public and non-profit sectors.

The Enterprise Europe Network is an extensive network (with 600 host organisations and 4 000 full-time staff) providing information and advice to entrepreneurs through its local partners.

Key documents

Document created in co-operation between Your Europe - Business (EU portal for companies) and BusinessInfo.cz.