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Impact Measurement And Performance Analysis Of CSR (IMPACT)

Launched in March 2010, the “Impact Measurement and Performance Analysis of CSR” (IMPACT) project broke new ground in addressing Corporate Social Responsibility across multiple levels and dimensions. The project evaluated current ways to assess impact and created new tools to measure the impact of CSR at different levels across European companies operating in 5 sectors - Automotive, Retail, ICT (information and communication technology), Construction, and Textiles (Garment), in different regions of EU27.  Based on an overarching conceptual framework it combined four empirical methods -econometric analysis, in-depth case studies, network analysis and Delphi analysis.

IMPACT has attempted to answer the following key questions:

  • What benefits and impact does CSR actually bring beyond company borders to the economy and society at large?
  • How can managers, policy makers and stakeholders better measure and evaluate the impact of CSR?
  • What does this mean for a smart mix of public policies and corporate strategy? 

Results

The final conference of the IMPACT project highlighted the following key findings:

  1. Sustainability issues seen as highly relevant - Almost all small, medium-sized and large companies state that they conduct their own CSR activities and are aware of most of the sustainability issues specified in the survey. The issues most actively being addressed are climate change, use of raw materials, sector-specific issues relating to quality of jobs.
  2. Large gap between awareness and activity - This strong awareness of sustainability issues does not always result in companies becoming active.
  3. The question of whether CSR results in economic profit cannot be answered in a general way by the research project; it can only give a definite answer with regard to each specific sustainability issue.
  4. More political direction of CSR is needed - The results of the study clearly show that a 'more of the same' approach will not bring about any fundamental change towards a sustainable economy. 

Resources 

  • IMPACT executive summary: this document sets forth the key findings, insights and story lines to emerge from the IMPACT research study. It also formulates a range of conclusions, implications and recommendations for policy makers plus companies and managers, which should be of direct interest to other stakeholders. 
  • Final conference report and videos available on our Youtube channel here.
  • IMPACT Guidebook for Managers on Corporate Impact Assessment and Measurement: This handbook is directed to companies and experts involved in supporting the development and monitoring of CSR impacts in companies as well as to those experts and institutions dealing with CSR impact assessment on an aggregate level (e.g. statistical offices, rating agencies, NGO initiatives, researchers). Access the handbook here
  • Policy Briefings: The briefings provide an overview of current CSR impact and a set of recommendations on how public policies can support increased CSR impact in the future. It will build on the results of the CSR policy effectiveness analysis, on the findings from the case studies. Read the briefing on Small and Medium Enterprises here and on the quality of jobs here.

What Made IMPACT Unique?

  • European Commission’s largest ever research and knowledge development initiative on CSR, supported by € 2.6 million in funding under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research.
  • Systematic attempt to measure the contribution of CSR to the social, economic and environmental goals of the European Union.
  • Evidence-based assessment and analysis of CSR impact within companies, across industry sectors and regions, and at national and EU levels.
  • A inter- and trans-disciplinary research design
  • A complementary consortium of sixteen top European research institutions, focusing on sustainability research, business schools, universities and CSR networks.

Why Is IMPACT Relevant To Business And Stakeholders?

  • Knowledge on actual impact of CSR on sustainability and competitiveness in the EU.
  • Empirical insights to explain impact of CSR in relation to the drivers, motivations and determining factors surrounding it.
  • New knowledge to support companies to better align and integrate CSR assessment methods and frameworks in their operations.
  • Improved dialogue and transparency between business and key stakeholders on approaches used to measure CSR-based contributions to societal and environmental goals.
  • Enhanced understanding of how public policy can foster and support CSR impact.

To know more about the project, please visit the dedicated IMPACT website

Members Involved

The list of ABIS members involved in the project are Copenhagen Business School, Central European University - CEU, Aalto University, The University of Nottingham, Akademia Leona Kozminskiego, INSEAD, IESE, Politecnico di Milano - MIP, Tilburg University, WU Wien and Vlerick Business School.

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