The Future of CSR Codes and Standards
Article by Wayne Visser
In this piece, I look at the lessons we have learned so far (both positive and negative) and what part CSR codes and standards play in an emerging New Governance model. Let me start with what I think we’ve learned about CSR codes and standards over the past 30 years or so.
- Codes can be a useful activist tool
- Codes can help to generate consensus
- Codes can embed incremental improvement
- Codes can change industry sectors
There are also downsides to CSR codes and standards, which we have come to realise.
- Codes create auditing and reporting fatigue
- Codes create confusion in the market
- Codes can be a mask for irresponsibility
- Codes are no substitute for regulation
With the usual caveats that the future is unpredictable, it does seem to me that there are several trends in CSR codes and standardsthat indicate the direction of their evolution.
- Principle-based codes will consolidate
- Process-based codes will struggle
- Performance-based codes will strengthen
- Sector-, product-, issue- and geography-based codes will expand
My fundamental belief is that CSR codes and standards will not disappear, because they form part of an emerging new form of governance, based on a multi-stakeholder approach …
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Cite this article
Visser, W. (2009) The Future of CSR Codes and Standards, CSR International Inspiration Series, No. 6.