Lesson 2: Reliability, CSR and corporate values

  • -Especially in the sustainability sector, transparency, reliability and authenticity are important to consumers. 
  • -A high moral standard is applied to entrepreneurs here, which is why entrepreneurs should elaborate their vision, values and mission well in order to be perceived congruently.
  • -Entrepreneurs should show transparency and be able to represent company decisions well.
  • -For this purpose, a SWOT analysis is helpful to become aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses and to create a professional communication strategy covering different aspects of the business.
  • -SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Here you can find an guide how to make a SWOT Analysis for your business.

The higher the level of trust in an enterprise, the more likely customers are to return or recommend it to others!

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to a business approach that integrates ethical, social, and environmental considerations into its operations and interactions with stakeholders. CSR goes beyond the traditional focus on profit-making and aims to create a positive impact on society and the environment. The key aspects of CSR are:

  • Social responsibility: CSR means that companies take responsibility for the impact of their activities on society – both within the company and beyond. It starts with fair pay, and includes consideration of social issues such as poverty, education, healthcare, human rights and community development. Companies can support philanthropic projects or participate in employee volunteer programs or partnerships with nonprofit organizations to contribute to social well-being.
  • Environmental responsibility: CSR emphasizes a company’s commitment to minimizing its environmental footprint. This includes reducing waste and pollution, conserving resources, and supporting conservation efforts. Companies may use renewable energy sources, adopt environmentally friendly production methods, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reduce their environmental impact.
  • Ethical business practices: CSR encompasses ethical considerations in business. This includes conducting business with integrity, transparency and fairness. Companies are expected to uphold ethical standards in areas such as supply chain management, labor practices, human rights, anti-corruption, and fair trade.
  • Stakeholder engagement: CSR involves the active engagement of stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, communities, investors, and government agencies. Companies should consider and respond to the interests and concerns of these stakeholders. Engaging in dialogue, soliciting feedback, and incorporating stakeholder perspectives helps build trust, promote mutual understanding, and make responsible decisions.
  • Long-term sustainability: CSR focuses on the long-term sustainability of business practices. It is about balancing economic, social and environmental goals to ensure the continued success of the business while contributing to a sustainable future. Companies can introduce sustainable business models, promote innovations for sustainable solutions or integrate sustainability into their corporate strategy.

How does your enterprise benefit from CSR?

  • Enhanced Reputation: CSR initiatives can enhance a company’s reputation by showcasing its commitment to social and environmental responsibility. This can lead to improved brand image, increased customer loyalty, and positive public perception.
  • Employee Engagement and Retention: CSR initiatives can attract and retain employees who are motivated by a company’s values and social impact. Engaging employees in CSR activities can boost morale, job satisfaction, and loyalty.
  • Competitive Advantage: Demonstrating social and environmental responsibility can provide a competitive edge by differentiating a company from its competitors. CSR can attract customers who prioritize ethical and sustainable products or services.
  • Risk Management: Engaging in CSR practices can mitigate risks related to legal, ethical, or environmental compliance. By proactively addressing societal and environmental concerns, companies can reduce the potential for reputational damage or legal liabilities.
  • Innovation and Cost Savings: Embracing CSR can drive innovation and cost savings. Companies that invest in sustainable practices, energy efficiency, waste reduction, or resource conservation often realize financial benefits in the form of reduced operating costs and improved efficiency.

It is important to note that CSR should be integrated into a company’s core business strategy and culture, rather than being seen as a standalone initiative. By aligning business objectives with societal and environmental needs, companies can create shared value for themselves and the broader society.


There are several good and successful examples of green brands that have effectively implemented sustainable practices and positioned themselves as leaders in environmental responsibility. Here are a few notable examples:

  • Patagonia: Patagonia is an outdoor clothing and gear company known for its strong commitment to environmental sustainability. They actively promote fair trade, use recycled and organic materials, and invest in renewable energy sources. Patagonia’s mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
  • Ecover: Ecover is a pioneer in the green cleaning products industry. They produce ecological cleaning and laundry products that are biodegradable, derived from renewable resources, and packaged in recyclable materials. Ecover is dedicated to promoting sustainable living and reducing the ecological footprint of cleaning products.
  • Ben & Jerry’s: Ben & Jerry’s is a popular ice cream company that integrates social and environmental concerns into its business practices. They source Fairtrade-certified ingredients, support family farms, and actively advocate for causes such as climate justice and marriage equality. Ben & Jerry’s uses its brand to raise awareness about social and environmental issues.

These examples demonstrate that successful green brands prioritize sustainability, integrate it into their core business practices, and effectively communicate their values to consumers. They have built a strong reputation for environmental responsibility, inspiring customer loyalty and attracting a growing consumer base that values sustainability and ethical practices.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the National Agency and Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.