What is CSR Monitoring? Definition, Types

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What is CSR Monitoring?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) monitoring refers to the process of assessing and evaluating a company’s CSR initiatives to ensure they align with the company’s values, mission, and goals, as well as to measure their impact and effectiveness.

CSR monitoring involves collecting and analyzing data on the company’s CSR activities, such as environmental and social performance, community engagement, employee well-being, and ethical practices. The data can be used to identify areas where the company is performing well and where improvements are needed.

Definition of CSR Monitoring

A useful definition of monitoring by Hellawell (1991) is, “Monitoring is an intermittent (regular or irregular) series of observations in time, carried out to show the extent of compliance with a formulated standard (target) or degree of deviation from an expected norm/ target.”

In line with this definition, one needs to define the standard in terms of objectives or targets, and then undertake monitoring to assess whether these objectives are being met. Corporate social responsibility reporting has become an important part of corporate communication efforts regarding the non-financial aspects of a company’s performance.

Types of CSR Monitoring Methods

Internal Compliance Monitoring

Monitoring and evaluation is essential component for analysing the bottom line of CSR initiatives and improving its effectiveness. Monitoring and evaluation can provide unique information about the performance of organizations policies, programs and projects It helps the business houses to understand the ground realities and beneficiaries role in the CSR interventions and analyze and review performance about business houses.

Monitoring and evaluation systems can be applied to both individual projects and multi-component interventions being implemented by the industries or corporations. For monitoring and measuring CSR, it is essential to form a monitoring team consisting of subject experts and executives who have business as well as social orientation.

If CSR team is formulated in the organisation, then the same team can continue with the monitoring task. The team has to diligently engage itself in monitoring the processes involved in implementing CSR activities both within the organisation, across the supply chain and in the community.

Example: Sona Group of Companies has constituted a special committee called ‘CSR Council’ that comprises members from the top, senior, middle, junior management as well as the shop-floor level.

In order to monitor and measure triple bottom line CSR (social, economic and environment) objectively the team will have to develop performance indicators, which then can be linked to the overall profitability of the company. Though there is no standard format for developing indicators, leadership companies normally follow Global Reporting Initiatives guidelines to develop their own indexes for monitoring and measuring CSR.

There are several instruments, which can measure various aspects of a company’s economic, social and environmental performance. Some instruments generally concentrate on a single issue or a stakeholder and thus fail to capture the full impact of a company’s activities.

Instruments like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Report Guidelines, the UN Global Compact Principles and Accountability 1000 series provide guidance in the planning and implementation of CSR initiatives, and discuss Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Other existing instruments may support the companies in specific aspects of CSR.

There are different tools for measurement and monitoring of CSR activities:

  • Employee and customer surveys: CSR activities can be measured by analysing the results of different surveys conducted on employees and customers.

  • Public attitude and Trust surveys: CSR activities can be measured by analysing the results of different surveys conducted in the society.

  • Employee safety: Companies perform different social activities for employee safety. By monitoring and measuring the employee safety CSR activates can be measured.

  • Waste management: It monitors and address the potential risks of doing business that raise waste management concerns, by setting out consecutive levels of proficiency in waste management.

  • Media Coverage: CSR activities can be measured through media coverage which may be positive or negative.

  • Peer and Expert evaluation: CSR activities can be measured through Evaluation team.

Example: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises Social Policy and Core Labour Standards and the Social Accountability International (SA 8000) which measures the labour standards.

The European Union (EU) Eco-label criterion measures the eco-friendliness of the products. Amnesty International’s Human Rights Guidelines for Companies, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises stresses on corporate governance matters.

Depending on the nature of business and CSR activity initiated, the indexes can be regularly reviewed and revised. For the purposes of explanation, a template for monitoring and measuring format is given at the end of this chapter.

External Monitoring and Measurement

Many reports on CSR implementation point out that the major barrier to effective implementation is the lack of external monitoring. Businesses are reluctant to allow outside agencies for monitoring and measuring CSR activities of their organisations.

This is somewhat because of the mistrust between the two groups (business and common public opinion). However, some companies are outsourcing monitoring of CSR activities to NGOs and research agencies.

These agencies also depend upon the monitoring and measurement instruments developed by international agencies mentioned in the above paragraphs and customise the same to the organisations requirements.

Some of the tools used for monitoring and measuring CSR both by internal and external stakeholders are listed in Table below.

Quantitative ToolsQualitative Tools
Employee and customer
Positive and negative media
Public attitude and trust
Peer and expert evaluation.
Employee health and safety, reduction of wastes, efficiency in resource usage and productivity surveys.Shareholder dialogue and informal feedbacks.
SRI rankings.Image among financial analysts and regulators.
Listings and rankings in Dow Jones sustainability index, FTSE4Good & other sustainability indexes, Reporting tools such as GRI, KPI and environmental audit systems.Perception about company
amongst stakeholders.
CSR Measurement and Monitoring Tools

Accreditations for Verifications of Measurements

Accreditation is a process in which certificate of competency, authority or creditability is presented.

Associations that issue accreditations or confirm outsiders against authority benchmarks are themselves formally authorize by accreditation bodies, (for example, UKAS); thus they are known as “licensed certificate bodies”.

The accreditation methodology guarantees that their confirmation practices are adequate, commonly implying that they are equipped to test and ensure outsiders, carry on morally and utilize suitable quality affirmation.

The different programs adopted by the companies for qualifying accreditation under CSR are as follows:

  • Programme targeting persons living below the poverty line
  • Helping Vulnerable children
  • Alleviation of poverty of vulnerable groups and Social housing
  • Entrepreneurship and SME development
  • Providing basic amenities to street children
  • Conducting various seminars and conferences for the guidance of Youth
  • Youth employment
  • Programmes for Non-communicable diseases
  • Providing Medical assistance to poor people
  • Providing a platform for those who have excellence in sports
  • Promote the employment of high level athletes
  • Provision of financial assistance to sports clubs and federations
  • Protection and preservation of the environment

The accreditation institutes monitors and measures all these CSR activities and issue a certificate.

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