If a company’s commitment to sustainability is serious and not just a "gap-filler" in its strategy paper or an advertising slogan to better market and sell its products, the focus may not be limited to the ecological aspect of sustainabilty, but will be on the entire cycle of sustainable development.

In the private sector, one often speaks of corporate social responsibility (CSR). There is no standardisation for the implementation of CSR, but different organisations have, over the last few years, developed various standard operating procedures (SOPs) that can be used as guidelines today. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Switzerland (SECO) defined CSR as an "optional contribution of the private sector in sustainable development, taking account of the interests of their stakeholders".

Looking at sustainability in a broader sense means to include all three dimensions – the economy, the environment and society. But, how and where does a company start if it decides to include all aspects of sustainability?

First and foremost, it requires the commitment of a company’s board of directors and management to accept the responsibility to create an environment of social and ecological benefits. Then, the actual implementation differs from a simple lip service. A company must create solid foundations and provide the right instruments to successfully introduce sustainability. Ideally, this is done so that CSR represents an integral part of the corporate culture. That means each company employee is aware of their responsibility and the impact their role in the company has on society.

In order to achieve this, I personally believe in a fair and transparent management culture that ensures consistently high employee satisfaction. I also believe that motivated, healthy and professional employees are the backbone of any successful company in today’s competitive business environment.

Also, such companies not only enjoy the advantage and privilege of being preferred employers when recruiting employees, but they also enjoy high respect among clients and generally a great reputation in society.

Sustainable management

Successfully converting CSR into practice as part of a corporate culture allows it to not only exist on paper, but also be actively implemented and lived as a dynamic process. That’s how I sensitise my employees in periodic intervals in relation to a sustainable resources management. It starts, but never ends, with minimising and sorting waste, being conscious of power resources and, above all, having the right attitude to successfully carry out the company’s commitment to sustanability in the three dimensions – the economy, the environment and society.

I further encourage my management team to support our employees in their own social projects, providing them with some time for such opportunities, simultaneously promoting and enforcing a healthy work-life balance.

Thus, CSR is not only about ecological aspects. It is about human resource management. Because, if CSR is an integral part of a company’s corporate culture from the beginning, every employee must apply and live it from the start, and not as the result of a sudden change of company culture.

Human resource management is also one of the most demanding tasks of management today. But, maintaining high levels of qualifications and competence among employees will enable companies to sustainably use and manage resources.


The question remains, what really is corporate social responsibility in the classical sense? It’s not hunting for any certification, nor using any specific guidelines. It applies to experience and common sense in trying to account for your own responsibility; that of a person vis-à-vis other people, that of a human being vis-à-vis the environment and that of an executive vis-à-vis company stakeholders.