La 24e session of the training seminar for directors of public capital companies, placed under the theme “Corporate social responsibility and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) skills of directors and managers of public capital companies for responsible governance”, closed its doors this September 8 for the wave of the first group. To this end, we spoke with Mr. Oumarou Barro, General Director of Company Promotion, to find out more about the content of the 5 days of training in general and more specifically, on the concept of CSR.
The Economist of Faso : After these 5 days of training, what assessment can you make of this seminar?
DG Barro : After these first five days of the training seminar for directors of public capital companies, which is in its 24the session without stopping, I can say that this session, like the previous ones, is experiencing great enthusiasm among companies, as well as public establishments which have registered the members of their Board of Directors, as well as technical directors and operational directors . Also, for this first group, we retain active and very rich contributions from the participants, through the sharing of experiences which took place regularly.
The central theme revolved around corporate social responsibility. Can you tell us what it is in concrete terms and what its challenges are?
DG Barro : Corporate social responsibility can be defined as the way in which companies integrate, on a voluntary basis, social, environmental and ethical concerns into their economic activities, as well as in their interactions with all stakeholders, whether internal, in particular, with managers, employees, shareholders, etc. or external, in particular, with suppliers, customers, etc.
In terms of issues, the entities concerned need to integrate social, economic and environmental concerns into company strategies and operational activities. On the economic level, CSR impacts managerial strategy by participating in risk anticipation, cost optimization, etc. on the social side, it deals with issues related to human rights, practices and relationships. of work, and on the environmental level, it deals with environmental issues….
Are there international CSR standards? If so, what are these standards?
DG Barro : Yes, CSR is governed and framed by international standards. In summary, the main reference texts on the subject are as follows:
-under the United Nations, we have the Global Reporting Initiative which is a repository of indicators to measure the progress of companies’ sustainable development programs. There is also the GLOBAL COMPACT which sets out the principles relating to human rights, labor standards, the environment and the fight against corruption;
-Also we have ISO 26000 standard Who sets guidelines for any type of organization seeking to take responsibility for its impacts;
-also, OHADA, which is a legal reference for OHADA countries.
What are the fundamentals and principles of CSR?
DG Barro : It should be noted that CSR is an approach based on three (3) fundamental pillars which are: the social and/or societal pillar, the economic pillar and the environmental pillar.
As for the principles, there are seven (07) in relation to the ISO 26 000 standard. These are accountability, transparency, ethical behavior, respect for human rights, recognition of the interests of stakeholders, respect for the principle of legality and compliance with international regulations. These principles aim to answer central questions which essentially relate to corporate vision and governance, human rights, the environment, good practices, working conditions and local development.
You are the General Manager, what is the role of General Management, as well as other company bodies in the implementation of CSR?
DG Barro : In my capacity as Director General of Business Promotion responsible for monitoring the governance of public companies, it is appropriate to note the strategic and central place of the administrative body which occupies a fundamental place upstream in the system for implementing CSR, through the clearance it gives for its implementation, the budget it authorizes and the establishment of the CSR committee.
The management body, in particular the General Management, has the role of developing and implementing an effective CSR policy. To this end, the commitment of the General Management and a real will are required to trigger the process and for the effective implementation of the policy once adopted. After that, each organ of the company, each individual at their level has a role to play in the effective implementation of the policy adopted by General Management.
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