The themes in the CSR Risk Check are in line with the CSR themes of the OECD Guidelines, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Fair business practices
Corporate citizenship in the area of taxation implies that enterprises should comply with both the letter and the spirit of the tax laws and regulations in all countries in which they operate, co-operate with authorities and make information that is relevant or required by law available to them. Transfer pricing is a particularly important issue for corporate citizenship and taxation.
Corruption entails enterprises’ involvement, directly or indirectly, with offering, promising, giving, or demanding a bribe or other undue advantage to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage. Propriety, integrity and transparency in both the public and private domains are key concepts in the fight against bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion.
Market distortion & competition
Businesses are expected to refrain from practices that restrict competition, such as fixed price agreements, open tender arrangements, or division of markets, customers, suppliers, geographical zones or activities. The theme is also about dumping and intellectual property rights.
Human rights & ethics
Government influence is about dictatorial regimes and human rights violations by governments. When conducting business in a country with an oppressive regime or in a country with high-risk to human rights violations, a company should assess its impact on civil society relative to its impact on government, and minimize its support to oppressive regimes.
Conflicts & security
The theme conflicts and security is about the possible impact of the business operations on the conflict. For example, human rights violations by rebel groups.
Land use & property rights
Land grabbing is large-scale acquisition of land for commercial or industrial purposes, such as agricultural and biofuel production, mining and logging concessions, big infrastructure development or tourism. Companies and investors involved in projects that require land acquisition or lease contracts, risk to be involved in land grabbing.
Community impact is about the negative impact of business activities on the surrounding communities. For example, of polluting mining or health effects from nearby factories.
Animal welfare is about the following five freedoms:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: access to fresh water and a diet for full health and vigour;
- Freedom from discomfort: an appropriate environment with shelter and comfortable rest area;
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease: prevention or rapid treatment;
- Freedom to express normal behaviour: adequate space and facilities, company of the animal's own kind;
- Freedom from fear and distress: conditions and treatment which avoid mental sufferings.
Consumer interests & product safety
Consumer interest & product safety is about the effects of the product/service on the end user. When dealing with consumers, enterprises should act in accordance with fair business, marketing and advertising practices and should take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality and reliability of the goods and services that they provide.
Freedom of association
Freedom of association is about the right of workers and employers to form and join organizations of their own choosing. Collective bargaining is a key means through which employers and their organizations and trade unions can establish fair wages and working conditions. It also provides the basis for sound labour relations.
Labour conditions (contracts, working hours)
The conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) provide a framework for offering fair and transparent labour contracts and labour conditions for all employees. Recommendations come down to max. 48 hours per week, limited overtime, sufficient rest time, holidays, sick-leave, and the right to earn a living wage.
Forced labour & human trafficking
Human trafficking means recruiting, transporting or accommodating people by (the threat of) violence, deceit or deception, with labour exploitation as a possible goal.
Forced labour can be understood as work that is performed involuntarily and under the menace of any penalty. It refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as manipulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities.
Not all children’s work is considered Child Labour. ILO’s definition of child labour is work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and/or interferes with their schooling.
In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age.
Discrimination & gender
Discrimination and gender is about the principle of equality of employment opportunities and equal treatment, and not distinguishing between workers on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, nationality, social background or other status.
Wage & remuneration
A living wage (or living income for the self-employed) is a wage that is sufficient to supply the employee and his/her family’s basic needs. Basic needs for instance are food, clothing, shelter, schooling and medical assistance. Usually a little extra is added for unexpected expenses.
Health and safety at work
This theme is about the health and safety of employees in a company. Companies have the responsibility to protect the health and safety of employees and suppliers. This also includes preventing psychosocial stress at work, e.g., work-related stress, bullying and sexual harassment.
Climate & energy
Continuous climate change will have destructive consequences and it can exacerbate many of the exiting CSR risks (think of water scarcity or social unrest). Moreover, the impact is generally unevenly distributed and larger for vulnerable groups and developing countries.
Biodiversity & deforestation
Biodiversity is defined in the Convention on Biological Diversity as the diversity of all living organisms in different ecosystems. A threat to biodiversity can occur if the activities of companies have a negative impact on flora and fauna, or if they break down nature reserves. Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forest land use such as arable land, urban use, logged area or wasteland.
Water use & water availability
Every company has a water footprint. This footprint depends on two components: how much water is used in the supply chain and where the product(s) come from.
Air pollution is the release of polluting gases, such as carbon monoxide and particulate matter. This is harmful to public health and the environment.
Soil & (ground)water contamination
Soil and (ground)water pollution can have a negative impact on the drinking water supply of local communities, on local arable farmland, and on livestock production.
Environment & waste (general)
Environment & waste is about general environmental protection, and (the effects of) waste production and management.