Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

CSR in Croatia

The first great moment in the development of corporate social responsibility in Croatia is probably the establishing of the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development (HR PSOR) based on the Memorandum of Understanding from 1997 with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It was founded by 18 Croatian companies that have obliged to implement and promote sustainable practices in their business in order to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development in the Republic of Croatia.

With the start of the European integration process in 2001, and by signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement when Croatia was granted candidate status for EU accession in June 2014, began the increase of interest for the practices that the European political and market-based economy model promotes.  A significant event occurred in late 2004 when the first national conference on CSR “Agenda 2015” was held. The conference gathered more than 120 researchers and entrepreneurs and set the basis for the formulation of joint priorities for the development of CSR in Croatia.

The original practice of corporate social responsibility in Croatia mainly relies on the field of environmental protection (especially among industrial manufacturers). The second phase included expanding the area of interest to human resources and the care for the local community. An important stimulus for implementing CSR is also the export orientation which creates pressure to introduce a specific standard in management, related to requirements of the foreign trade.  

Another important stakeholder in the development of corporate social responsibility in Croatia is certainly the Community for CSR founded by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which began operating in 2006. The objectives of this association are to raise knowledge and awareness about corporate social responsibility in all sectors, the promotion of the business ethics code among the business entities, and the organization's systematic education and counseling in order to improve the exchange of good practices from Croatia, EU, and globally.

Global Compact Croatia is another important stakeholder in the development of CRR in Croatia as a part of the United Nations initiative for the introduction of corporate social responsibility models. Global Contact is a strategic initiative that is based on ten basic principles of human rights, labor rights, environment care, and the fight against corruption. The local network of Global Compact Croatia was founded in 2007 and now has over 50 members. Croatian network is focused on environmental issues and the fight against corruption which is planned to be addressed through a series of workshops and projects. A special initiative to promote “green office” practices and some other self-initiated actions by member companies and potential members was embraced.

Certainly, the most important and recognizable tool in promoting CSR is the methodology for ranking companies according to their efficacy in implementing CSR. The methodology is called the Social responsibility Index and it was developed by local Croatian experts, and each year Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian Business Council for Sustainable Development uses this methodology to give awards to Croatian companies that show the best results.

Source: "Društveno odgovorno poslovanje za sve: Nacionalna studija Republika Hrvatska", publication from the research project "Corporate Social Responsability for All", Hrvatska udruga poslodavaca: Zagreb, 2013.