Assessment of environmental issues of corporate social responsibility - results of empirical research

Agata Lulewicz-Sas, Joanna Godlewska



The main aim of this article is to analyse and evaluate the implementation of socially responsible activities by enterprises, in relation to the stakeholder group understood as the natural environment. Based on the results of surveys, the factors and tools for measuring the impact of socially responsible activities on the natural environment have been identified.


The article presents the results of a survey on the impact of the activities carried out by socially responsible companies on the natural environment. The analysis covered primarily the issues related to the factors and tools measuring the impact of socially responsible activities in relation to the natural environment.

The survey was conducted in 2013 among the organizational units implementing the concept of corporate social responsibility, having their headquarters in Poland. Following this study responses from 63 individuals were obtained, which provided a return rate of 21%. The largest group of companies surveyed included service companies (36.5%), industrial companies (31.7%), and trade companies (19.0%).

Descriptive statistics and statistical inference were used for the analysis of the survey results.


The conducted studies show that:

  • 63.5% of surveyed companies conduct a regular measurement of the impact of the implementation of CSR activities on the natural environment, while 11.1% of the respondents perform such a measurement  occasionally;
  • 49.2% of surveyed companies use tools such as "environmental audits" and "environmental impact assessment" when examining the influence of CSR impact on the natural environment;
  • the most frequently analysed factors taken into account when measuring the impact of CSR activities on the natural environment include: the amount of waste produced (66.7% of responses), the emission of gaseous pollutants into the air and the consumption of materials and raw materials (60.3% of responses).


The theoretical contribution

The concept of CSR is a business strategy, which allows a company to proactively manage the relationships with all relevant stakeholders understood as any entity that may affect the achievement of the objectives of the organization or any entity which is affected by the organization in the process of realizing their goals.[1] In terms of the theory of stakeholders, a company is treated as a non-profit organization whose goal is to maximize value for all of the stakeholders.[2]

The following groups of the corporate social responsibility concept stakeholders can be distinguished: employees, local community, customers (customers / consumers of goods / services), contractors, natural environment. Thanks to these stakeholder groups, and for them, the company conducts business activities.

The natural environment, as the so-called "silent stakeholder", requires a different approach as it does not have neither a voice nor the right to vote. Nevertheless, it creates the scope for all human activity, also entrepreneurial.[3]

The implementation of socially responsible activities results in the reduction of the negative impact on the environment through more efficient use of resources, reduced water consumption, lower waste disposal costs, savings from more efficient use and recovery of raw materials (lower material consumption and energy consumption).[4] Generally, it can be stated that between the company implementing socially responsible actions, and the "silent stakeholder", there exists a kind of a feedback loop. The impact of the stakeholder changes the company, and the influence of the company changes the stakeholder.


Practical implications

Research results can be used by businesses, both those that are already implementing CSR activities, as well as those that are just planning it. They can be particularly useful for companies that are implementing environmental measures and are planning to extend them through the application of CSR activities.


Keywords: corporate social responsibility, natural environment, measurement methods, measurement tools


Paper type: Research paper

[1] R.E. Freeman, Strategic management: A stakeholders approach, Pitman, Boston 1984 p. 46.

[2] A. Adamska, Własność i kontrola. Perspektywa akcjonariuszy spółek publicznych, Oficyna Wydawnicza SGH, Warszawa 2013, p. 51.

[3] R.C. Solomon, C. Martin, Above the Bottom Line. An Introduction to Business Ethics, Thomson Wadsworth, Toronto 2004, p. 301; M. Geryk, Społeczna odpowiedzialność uczelni, Oficyna Wydawnicza SGH, Warszawa 2012, p. 43.

[4] J. Klimek, Etyka biznesu. Teoretyczne założenia, praktyka zastosowań, Difin 2014, p. 282.


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