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04 / 2022

CSR - What meaning do these 3 letters have for the future of the sports industry?!

Corporate Social Responsibility, a term that for some years in the reporting of the media, but also in all social areas can no longer be negated

Really every company has to deal with this topic today, there is no getting around it, and therefore it is only clear and logical that these 3 letters have also gained a foothold in the sports industry for some years now! In this article we want to give you a brief overview of essential terms related to CSR, point out some important ground rules and why this area will become so important and crucial for clubs in the future!
A Quantum of Solace

Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, is generally considered to be a concept that allows companies to integrate environmental and social concerns into their business and into their relationships with their stakeholders on a FREE basis, in order to also answer the question of corporate social responsibility. It is therefore not a clear management concept, but a guiding idea that has to be concretized company-specifically.

CSR is based on the idea that companies maximize positive effects for society and stakeholders and minimize negative ones. The guiding principle of sustainability is an important point of orientation for the design of CSR. Accordingly, CSR has an ecological, economic and social dimension, whereby these are ideally taken into account simultaneously for the purpose of creating positive interactions. In recent years, the view that CSR also applies to supply chains has also gained acceptance. Here, CSR takes the form of companies working to ensure that their suppliers comply with fundamental labor, social and environmental standards. CSR is now a de facto standard in corporate practice. On the one hand companies are expected to assume social responsibility. Companies that cannot or do not want to fulfill this, must expect to lose their ability to cooperate in the long term! More and more legal requirements, such as a CSR reporting obligation for certain companies (see also DFL rules from 23/24 on), which cause more binding in practice!

Internationally, one often hears the term "ESG" - the English abbreviation for "Environment Social Governance". This term is internationally established in companies as well as in the world of finance (ESG funds), to express whether and how corporate decisions and corporate decisions of companies and corporate practice, as well as in the and corporate practice, as well as in company analyses by financial service aspects and the nature of corporate governance are taken into account or assessed.

Many studies show that CSR is beneficial for companies in the long term. In addition to financial savings through resource efficiency, the improvement of relationships with customers, employees and other stakeholders is particularly worth mentioning here, as well as the possibility of generating funding and other, new sponsors. The positive effects of CSR on stakeholder relations are linked in particular to the fact that companies are perceived as responsible. The perceived responsibility of companies is also referred to as perceived CSR (pCSR).

In the historical development of the concept of CSR, which already came increasingly into focus in the 1920s, the Sustainability Summit on September 25, 2015 is a crucial date - at that time, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda includes the so-called 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the first time that there is a universal catalog that includes all dimensions of sustainability. The aim of the Agenda is to make global developments sustainable by 2030. Accordingly, sustainability consists of the following three dimensions: The social, the economic and the ecological. According to the common definition, something is only considered sustainable if these three areas are taken into account with equal weighting and form a long-term, viable solution with a view to the future!

However, the following approach is crucial: No INSTITUTION, COMPANY or CLUB can fulfill all OBJECTIVES - this also makes NO SENSE - it is necessary to direct the FOCUS on individual AREAS and to fullfill them in the best possible way - CSR in the company as well as in the club should develop, start small, then grow! Equally important is also the understanding that CSR does not require profit sacrifice, quite the opposite, but serves to intelligently increase value creation, therefore primarily takes place in the core business and not in the context of philanthropic engagement.

A very decisive switch for the CSR topic was made by the clubs of the German Bundesliga in December 2021. The clubs in D are the first major professional soccer leagues to include sustainability criteria as a mandatory part of their licensing regulations. The implementation of the process is planned in several stages - the main guideline for the actions of the DFL e.V. is sustainability in all its dimensions - ecological, economic and social! Among other things, minimum criteria are planned, as well as extended criteria that must be met on a pro rata basis. The specific criteria are currently being developed based on the three dimensions of sustainability and will be fleshed out and finalized together with the clubs in the coming period. They will be based, among other things, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations and assessments by external experts. When developing the criteria, it will be taken into account that clubs, some of which are already implementing comprehensive activities individually, can continue to focus on their respective strategic priorities in the future. The pilot phase is scheduled for the upcoming 2022/23 season, with the first licensing-relevant auditing of clubs in relation to the sustainability criteria in the licensing process planned for the 2023/24 season. At that time, corresponding requirements and sanctions will also be possible for non-compliance with minimum criteria or a corresponding proportion of the extended criteria.

Accordingly, the clubs will have to report according to certain minimum criteria, just as many companies do, so that the results can also be compared. This also makes the concept of "GRI standards" relevant, which are global standards for sustainability reporting. The aim of the GRI standards is clear: to create transparency about a company's CSR activities through standardization and comparability.

Thus, the following important basic rules can be defined for the clubs:

- CLEAR sustainability vision: stringent, integrated into the business processes of the integrated into the business processes of the club!

- If there is this CLEAR VISION, there will be RESULTS!

- From this develop your OWN BRAND for CSR

- FOCUSING - you can't deal with 100 issues at the same time, at the beginning certainly limited human resources, consequently set FEW goals that can be pursued with SUSTAINMENT and CONSEQUENCE!

- DIVERSITY - if you are serious about a sustainable economy and society, you have to deal with this TOPIC (e.g. mixed team in ski jumping or athletics)!

- The CSR topic must be COMMUNICATED by many clubs and associations much more clearly, convincingly and understandably!

MK Consulting GmbH is aware of this responsibility. Therefore we have established sustainability as modus operandi in our business processes and anchored it in everyday life, sustainability is an added value! We would be pleased to analyse the current situation around the CSR topic for your company, your association or your club and to define together with you relevant CSR areas, to design strategies and concepts and to accompany you also on your company- or club-specific CSR way!

05.04.2022 - MK Consuling GmbH
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MK Consulting GmbH

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Telefon: +43 676 88 6761201


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