Focus on CSR: What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined as your company’s voluntary initiatives and actions to improve your social and environmental performance and relations with your stakeholders. It is voluntary because you can voluntarily choose which practices are most important to you to pursue, and because if it is mandatory (i.e. required by government regulation), it is not considered CSR.

Today, CSR has a broad scope: it includes how companies are run and managed, their ethics, culture and operations, their relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, construction and other businesses, communities, industry associations, and governments, along with their construction practices and projects.

CSR involves going above and beyond what is legally required to contribute positively to the environment, the workforce and communities. It includes both what the company can control and what it can influence, the latter by collaborating with partners on joint social or environmental initiatives. CSR-oriented companies take accountability for their environmental and social impacts and are transparent about these impacts and steps or measures to improve them.

CSR can be thought of as your company’s triple bottom-line, or “people, planet and profits”. It is about maintaining and even enhancing profitability while embedding social and environmental considerations in the business—and making CSR part of the company’s culture.

Food for Thought

What are your thoughts on this definition and how would you edit it to reflect your company values and culture? What does your company stand for and how do you want to be known in the community and by clients? What CSR values should you embed across the company?


To learn more, download Corporate Social Responsibility in the Canadian Construction Sector: A Practical Guide to CSR from the Member login section.