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Europe’s winning ways in CSR

July 2013

Orchestrated by CSR Europe and BiTC, 31 national European networks and organisations in 30 countries joined forces to deliver the first ever pan-European CSR Award Scheme. The winners have just been announced and celebrated at a gala dinner in Brussels.

The results of this year’s inaugural European CSR awards show that companies of all sizes are doing outstanding work through innovative partnerships. The winning examples offer an invaluable source of case studies and evidence to learn from, share, celebrate and inspire others.

The winning partnerships make apparent the trend of adopting key social issues aligned to the core business. The organisers, CSR Europe and BiTC, say they are encouraged by the integration of CR into core business.
The innovation showed by winning partnerships is impressive, organisers believe, highlighting the use of new technologies to address social issues and in many cases developing new products.

In terms of impact, while some examples show impressive quantitative impact, some models are yet to be scaled up to unleash their potential for generating social change. On the business side, it’s particularly interesting to see the development of new products and services through these partnerships and the generation of sales.

The variations in the types of collaboration are many, incorporating many different sectors and also various organisations within the same sectors coming to work together. This is a matrix of collaboration that brings depth and breadth to the way in which social challenges are addressed. Critical to the sustainability of these partnerships is the financial viability of the model and the delivery of the mutual benefit, maintain the organisers.

Trends among winning projects
In many cases partners included various companies within the same supply chain and even competitors who have come together to increase their overall impact. Some examples include companies generating local platforms where a variety of businesses and other partners can share their ideas and experience.

There is a clear trend towards engaging customers and citizens in partnership activities. They are in some cases the target market where the programme aims to raise awareness. In many cases the customers are targeted through cause related marketing to act as responsible citizens or even contribute directly to a social cause.

The size and composition of partnerships illustrates that companies are engaging in more inclusive forms of collaboration. It is becoming standard practice that more than one company engages with more than one non-business partner. This greatly enhances the ability to scale up collective impact. The results show that 32% of winning partnerships involve at least three types of partners. Apart from NGOs, partnerships also include public organisations, academia and the media. Having a variety of stakeholders brings skills, resources and knowledge to the projects for the benefit of both society and businesses.

Not only do partners come from all sectors but they come in all sizes too – companies partnering with a variety of organisations from global NGOs to small community based organisations. Partners include different government schemes such as debt advice services to big ministries. Given the complexity of societal issues, universities also partner to provide technical expertise.

Building long term partnerships
The vast majority of winning initiatives involve long-term partnerships, which show a clear evolution in the relationship after a successful initial cooperation. The span of the cooperation allows partners to address CSR issues thoroughly and comprehensively while successively scaling up their impact over time and improving the projects.

New ideas, business models, products and services resolving around existing sustainable challenges, such as demographic change, human rights violations, financial crisis, environmental degradation, and poverty are apparent in the winning partnerships.

Caring about the environment
The winning partnerships indicate that having a positive impact on the environment is one of the top priorities and at the same time a necessary factor for a successful and competitive company. Fifty per cent of the partnerships focused on education and in some cases connected with employability, in other cases it was with sustainability but they also covered a variety of social issues such as road safety.

A number of the partnerships focus on increasing employability through providing training and education to a variety of social groups and fostering the entrepreneurship of young people. As a result, people can apply their acquired skills to access the job market or create their own companies.

Whether it’s a new model for organic farming, the involvement of community-based designers or bolstering tourism through sport, these partnerships are having a long lasting effect.

Many companies have created new business models and partnerships which aim to alleviate poverty and deliver economic results for instance in the areas of health and local development.

The balance between minimising risks through accountability, good governance and transparency and, at the same time, maximising opportunities through social innovation, delivering new products and services are key business impacts collaboration delivers.

Creating new markets & sales opportunities
Through innovative products and services, companies can gain new customers and consequently increase their sales and profit (as well as opening up new markets). Some of the partnerships improved their use of resources, which led to cost savings whilst ensuring the sustainability of essential resources for commercial operations.
A benefit acknowledged by all companies is that of an enhanced reputation and gaining the label of a responsible business. The benefit and perspective to companies varies from an international to a national or to a local focus: some companies mentioned international recognition, while others mentioned the importance of being seen as an integral part of the local market. Engagement of employees brings both business and social benefits too. Companies gain loyal and more productive staff; employees can develop their skills, knowledge and positive image about their employer while society enjoys positive impact activities.

The variety of sectors represented among both SMEs and large companies is wide-ranging. The winners represent all sectors of industry which demonstrates that all businesses – regardless of sector – are ready to play a proactive role in addressing current and future sustainability challenges. The results also show that 44.5% of the winning initiatives address the topic of the environment as a key sustainability issue; while 71.5 % of projects concentrate on community development. The selection of topics also shows that partnerships tend to tackle multiple social issues. The overlap is clearly demonstrated for instance in education projects addressing environmental issues.

Be inspired and read all 57 winning case studies at


2013 Winners

Large: The Bank for people without a bank – Johnanes Herbsthofer Malerei + Onlinefarben Handels KG
SME: Climate neutral online & services – Die Zweite Wiener Vereins-Sparcasse

Large: 100% Sustainable Fish – Delhaize
SME: Human-Capital Card – Ertzberg and T’Lampeke

Large: Partnership with UNICEF Bulgaria to support the BENEFACTOR regular donation programme – Piraeus Bank Bulgaria
SME: Chance for Equal Quality of Life Happiness for All – EO Dent Ltd

Large: European CSR Awards – Coca-Cola HBC Croata
SME: European CSR Awards KONCAR – Electrical Engineering Institute, INC.

CZ Republic
Large: Accenture Academy – Accenture Central Europe BV
SME: Endowment fund Stairs into the Life – Privni Chodska Develop, AS

Large: Grundfos Holding A/S
SME: Biocover- SyreN System

Large: Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme ENTRUM – Eeste Energia
SME: Smartlab (original: Nutilabor) – Microsoft Estonia

Large: Diversity in Employment – Manpower Group Finland
SME: Poimapper for mHealth – Pajat Solutions

Nokia & WWF collaborating for the environment – Nokia

Large: Mecenova Trophies 2013 – Employees social commitment – Bouygues Immobilier

Large: Tchibo Gmbh & HiPP GmbH
SME: Studiosus Reisen Munchen & Thomas Becker – Atelier

Large: Mission Water – Coca-Cola HBC Greece SAIC
SME: All together, we can – Radio & Telecommunications Enterprises SA

Large: Net Program – E.ON Hungary Group
SME: Talking responsibility for the good of future generations – Dr Laszlo Czinki

Large: Think Big – Carambola Kidz
SME: New Library in Our Lady of Mercery Primary, Sligo – Telefonica 02

Italy – International
Your Choice, Your Project – UniCredit

Large: Your Choice Your Project – Barilla Fratelli Societa per Azioni
SME: Medicine in Paraguay – Guna

Large: Meridian Corporation LLC Kosovo
SME: Sharrcem LLC

Large; ALD bluefleet – Carbon offset – ALD Automotive
SME: Increase the number of potential donors of Bone Marrow – Ketterhill

Large: Embrace as a gift – IMB Mlekara AD Bitola
SME: Eco-ray on the Balkan Peninsula – Rade Koncar – Service DOO Skopje

Large: Uniqa Montenegro & UMHCG – UNIQA
SME: Dream together – ELKO Tim

Large: DSM and WFP – DSM
SME: Post NL and Fairmail

Large: Coca-Cola Enterprises Norway
SME: UNIT4 Agresso

Large: Orange Polska
SME: Horus Innowacyjne Materialy Przemslowe Sp. Z.o.o.

Large: The Coca Cola System Romania
SME: Eco-Rom Ambalaje

Large: B92
SME: Sunce Marinkovia d.o.o.

Large: Slovenske elektrarne, as


Large: INDRA
SME: Fruits de Ponent

Large: Abegglen
SME: Migros

Large: Bilim Ilac Sanayi ve Ticaret AS
SME: Dogan Organik Urunler Sanayi ve Ticaret AS

Large: W M Morrison Supermarkets
SME: Pera Innovation

Large: Prykarpattyaoblenergo 

Europe | Awards


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