How can csr be a source of competitive advantage ?

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Strategy is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long term, with the creation of a competitive advantage through its configuration of resources. A strategic positioning allows to perform different activities from a rival's same activities or products.
More and more, companies are communicated about CSR or “Corporate Social Responsibility” in their activities creating the idea ofcompetitive advantage from its competitors.

I What is CSR ? 1

Nowadays global brands if they want to be sustainably successful, should ensure that they incorporate social responsibility into their strategy.

In 1999 Caroll explains that Corporate social responsibility is “the conduct of Business so that it is economically profitable, low abiding, ethical and socially supportive”.After years, many definitions have been given and today is CSR again a broad concept that covers a range of environmental, ethical and social responsibilities. The application of the CSR depends on the company's activities and the company's core business.

Today global brands if they want to be sustainably successful, should ensure that they incorporate social responsibility into their strategy.Depending on the degree to which they leverage their CSR activities, it enables the company to translate doing good into sustainable benefit as a strategic tool.

Why being social responsible contributes to the creation of a competitive advantage ?
The CSR presents three main
General positive impact on the stakeholders
Build a relation with customers thanks to the creation of the value for thecommunity
Increase employees commitment

Therefore global organizations face to complex issues in order to generate returns on investment. They must consider three types of complexity before and after a CSR implementation.

a- The social issue complexity
Depending on the organization, its environment and its stakeholders, the CSR could be differently interpreted. First the stakeholdershave to define their CSR issue for a better intern and external communication but the potential disagreement could come from the difference between the stakeholders expectations and the subjective evaluations Furthermore, tits difficult to compare figures and the measurement is more personal for the stakeholders who could focus on financial issues or on social issues for their company.

b-Organisational complexity
the responsibility must be a distinctive characteristic of the global organisation; it defines the organisation's identity and allow it to differentiate from others. As a strategic tool, CSR drives a corporate image and the social actions give a personality to brands and products. However because of the multinational view and actions organisations have the challenge tointegrate CSR to each brands and each products for an international perspective. It becomes more difficult if the site and functional activities are geographically separated.
Finally social responsibility implies to be responsible from the beginning to the end of the supply chain; organisations have to control each activities, including suppliers' activities within the production.

c- Communicationcomplexity
CSR must be integrated systematically into the organisation and its brands, showing a kind of philosophy through particular actions. But the communication is the main step to inform consumers and stakeholders, to create an interest for the organisation and its social activity. However it implies some budgets to implement tactical messages to integrate CSR across the activitiesglobally.

I A CSR case : The Body Shop 2

The body Shop is considered as a pioneer in fact of Corporate social responsibility. With more than 2,500 stores over sixty markets and 7 range of products, The Body Shop earns more than € 1,230 million per year. Furthermore the company supports over 3,500 international projects defending human rights and environment worldwide.

The Body Shop is a...