The Responsible MED project
Responsible Med is a project co-funded by the European Commission through the MED programme for territorial cooperation.
The project runs for 2 years. from July 2010 until June 2012.
What is CSR? What is Competitiveness?
The EU defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in business operations and in interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. A growing body of literature and practices supports the idea that CSR has not only social benefits, but also economic ones. The links are difficult to measure, but it is essential to do so, especially in times of economic crisis where new business models must be adopted.
The competitiveness of a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) concerns its ability to survive and thrive in the market economy. The 2008 Competitiveness Report of the European Commission identifies the following 6 key determinants: cost structure, human resource performance, customer perspective, innovation, risk and reputation management, and financial performance. All of these are considered within the Responsible Med project.
Cooperation for responsible competitiveness
The Responsible Med project sees cooperation and exchange between 9 partners on the theme of analysing and promoting CSR as a tool for increased competitiveness. The project addresses a number of key research questions, such as:
- How can we evaluate the link between CSR and competitiveness in SMEs?
- How can public policies to promote CSR in SMEs be monitored and improved?
- How can SMEs use CSR to promote their competitiveness?
- How can inter-regional cooperation promote understanding of these issues?
- How can inter-regional cooperation lead to the development of new methodologies and tools to address these issues?
- Throughout the duration of the project, partners undertake regional analyses and comparison through intensive exchange, including interactive workshops, study visits and stakeholder involvement. This exchange forms the basis of the methodology development, testing and capitalisation phases.
What will Responsible Med do in Practice?
One of the major outputs of Responsible Med will be the development and implementation of a methodological framework to assess the relationship between CSR and competitiveness in SMEs. This framework will be tested through a large-scale survey of SMEs in the Med area.
Based on the results of the above mentioned survey, Responsible Med will develop an evaluation tool to be used by SMEs to measure and verify the economic impact of CSR approaches in their business and by public authorities to better ensure that their CSR policies promote company competitiveness.
This type of tool helps to develop a strategic plan for CSR in Europe and to promote better use of funds in this field. This tool should help SMEs to assess their performance in terms of CSR activities and identify potential areas of improvement, thus enhancing their competitiveness.
What does Responsible Med offer to regional stakeholders?
Responsible Med is of particular added value to Public Authorities and Enterprises.
To Public Authorities Responsible Med offers increased awareness of CSR related initiatives in their territory and in other areas of the Med. It provides input to policy planning, development and monitoring, thus supporting and improving public policy evaluation and consultation tools;
To Enterprises Responsible Med helps to make the most of opportunities offered by CSR to promote their competitive advantage. By verifying behaviour, choices and performance in CSR practices, the project allows for an in-depth evaluation and subsequent plan of action for more competitive and responsible actions. Furthermore, Responsible Med facilitates access to dialogue with public authorities and offers significant potential for marketing and collaboration.
The Responsible Med project brings together 9 multi-disciplinary partners (public authorities, development agencies, universities and chambers of commerce) from 6 countries in the Med area:
- Regional Government of Tuscany (Italy) - Project Coordinator
- Regional Government of Umbria (Italy)
- Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Marseille Provence (France) - Leader of Component 3 (Context Analysis and Comparison)
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Terrassa (Spain)
- University of Girona (Spain) - Leader of Component 4 (Pilot: Common Methodology and Tool)
- ADRAL S.A. - Regional Development Agency of Alentejo (Portugal)
- Region of Thessaly (Greece)
Research Centre of the Athens University of Economics and Business(Greece), including:
- Multimedia Communication and Marketing Laboratory, and
- Transportation Systems and Logistics Laboratory (TRANSLOG)
For more information on the Responsible Med project
Web site: www.fabricaethica.it
Med Programme: www.programmemed.eu
For more information of EU policy for CSR