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taking corporate social responsibility into account in project management

Habib Lopez, Head of Barcelona office and Alain Geerts, Head of Governance & Service Management · April 08, 2024

Our social and environmental responsibility has always been of crucial importance to us, our employees and our customers. In fact, we are currently in the process of obtaining certification. But corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not just a concern specific to Itecor: taking CSR into account has become a central concern for all organisations concerned about their social, economic and environmental impact.

Taking CSR into account also concerns every project, its life cycle and its management. Incorporating CSR into a project is not just about meeting regulatory expectations or improving the company’s brand image. It is also a way of adding value, innovating and ensuring the long-term future of the organisation. So how should CSR be factored into a project?

the concept of CSR in a project

CSR refers to the practices put in place by companies to contribute to sustainable development by taking into account the social, economic and environmental impacts of their activities.

In the context of a project, this means including ethical, social and ecological concerns in the planning and execution of the project,

how do we integrate CSR into the life cycle of a project?

Our project managers systematically integrate CSR into the various phases of our projects, whether they are in-house projects or projects in which the customer is interested:


the integration of CSR begins at the initiation phase and involves defining clear and measurable sustainable development objectives and ensuring that the project will make a positive contribution to the organisation and the environment. Stakeholder analysis includes identifying the CSR expectations and needs of all stakeholders.


during this phase, CSR practices are integrated into the detailed planning of the project. This takes the form of a specific CSR management plan. The project risk assessment must also take into account social and environmental risks.


the design phase focuses primarily on the assessment of environmental and social impacts. It also includes the selection of responsible suppliers and the inclusion of energy efficiency measures in the requirements.


the application of CSR principles continues with the rigorous monitoring of sustainable practices during the construction phase. Working methods must minimise environmental impact and promote social inclusion. Transparent communication with stakeholders is essential to maintain trust and commitment to CSR objectives.


the closure phase of a project provides an opportunity to assess CSR performance, document lessons learned and celebrate successes. It is also a time to assess the long-term impact of the project on society and the environment.

what are the key activities and deliverables?

Every project is different, but we systematise the following activities:

identifying the CSR needs and expectations of the various stakeholders and recording them in the requirements register.

carrying out an impact study, even a brief one, to identify and mitigate the potential negative effects of the project.

where applicable, implementation of selection criteria that integrate environmental and social considerations.

training sessions for the project team on CSR principles and associated best practices.

setting up a CSR performance monitoring system for the project and drafting periodic reports.

what are the specific deliverables?

Taking CSR into account also requires specific deliverables. The main deliverables are as follows:

a plan detailing how CSR will be integrated into the project, including objectives, strategies and performance indicators. Depending on its complexity, this plan is integrated into the project management plan or is the subject of a separate document.

results of the impact study and proposed mitigation measures.

periodic reporting on the project’s CSR progress, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.

If there is a sustainable procurement policy within the organisation, reference should be made to this, otherwise a brief document should be produced setting out the supplier selection criteria and sustainable procurement practices for the project.

are there any particular roles to consider?

The effective integration of CSR into a project may require the involvement of specific roles within the project team. The activities and deliverables associated with CSR need to be clearly defined.

For large projects with a strong CSR dimension, we recommend the following roles in particular:

CSR coordinator

This role is central to the coordination of CSR efforts within a major project. This role is ideally performed by the project manager and is responsible for integrating sustainable development objectives into all phases of the project, from initiation to closure. It ensures that CSR practices are aligned with the overall project objectives and communicates regularly with all stakeholders on progress.

environmental and social impact assessment expert

When a project has a strong CSR dimension, the use of an impact assessment expert helps to analyse the potential effects of the project on the environment and society. The expert carries out impact studies and proposes mitigation measures to minimise the negative effects of the project.

sustainable procurement manager

This sustainable procurement manager role, which often exists within the organisation, is crucial in enabling the project to integrate CSR into the project supply chain. The sustainable procurement manager evaluates and selects suppliers based on their environmental and social performance, in addition to traditional criteria such as cost and quality.

CSR communication manager

This role involves communicating the project's CSR initiatives and performance to internal and external stakeholders. The CSR communications manager ensures that information is transparent, accurate and reflects the company's sustainability values.

In conclusion, integrating CSR into the life cycle of a project and into project management is an approach that requires commitment and innovation. Not only does it make it possible to meet the growing expectations of stakeholders in terms of sustainable development, but it also identifies new opportunities to strengthen the company’s image and resilience. By adopting a proactive approach to CSR, organisations can not only improve their social and environmental impact but also enhance their competitiveness and long-term success.

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