Title: Comparative analysis of innovative CSR tools for SMEs

Authors: Ulrike Gelbmann

Addresses: Institute for Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research (ISIS), University of Graz, Austria

Abstract: Activities in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) range from single-issue events to integrative triple-bottom-line approaches. Considering the latter provides a multitude of innovative tools with differing intentions, qualities and application scopes. This paper analyses experiences from two processes of developing and implementing innovative CSR tools for small and medium enterprises the Institute for Systems Science, Innovation and Sustainability Research took part in (the enabler concept |BLISS| and an official Austrian |CSR Quality-Seal|, a visibility signal). It compares different tools as to on which criteria enterprises select the appropriate tool to implement CSR as an organisational innovation. The paper considers CSR goals, expenditures, time requirements, social, economic, ecological risks and advantages. Comparison shows considerable differences, as enabler concepts are harder to implement than visibility signals, but help enterprises gain the expertise to obtain a visibility sign. The more CSR has been mainstreamed within an enterprise, the more likely visibility tools will suffice.

Keywords: SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; innovative CSR tools; comprehensive CSR; CSR guidelines; CSR indicators; visibility signals; corporate social responsibility; organisational innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISD.2010.034556

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2010 Vol.5 No.1, pp.35 - 50

Published online: 07 Aug 2010 *

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