Healthy workplaces, fair cooperation, the promotion of social projects and protection of natural resources are common practice at VISUS. With the establishment of the unit for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), topics such as these are now officially a part of business activities. What is more: as a fundamental objective in the corporate strategy, sustainable management and actions will actively determine the development of VISUS in the future.
Amelie Holstein, who has received intensive training in this area, is responsible for the documentation, coordination, as well as the further development of CSR measures. “Various CSR training programs of the CSR competence center form the basis of our CSR work. The measures aim to provide small and medium-sized companies with the necessary CSR competence so they are able to act in a strategically responsible manner in areas of activity such as the market, environment, workplace and community.”
Voluntarily and wholeheartedly
Stock-taking and benchmarking with other companies were at the start of the entire CSR process. “In the mid-sized sector, there are still not very many companies which practice CSR to this high degree. One reason for this is the fact that these measures are voluntary. The creation of a sustainability report, for example, is mandatory only for large companies with 500 or more employees. However, the fact that VISUS is already on the right path shows its truly good performance in the benchmark to other companies of this size. Nonetheless, we want to steadily improve in the individual areas and continue to meet the rapidly changing challenges. Here it is necessary to always strike a good balance between interests which are conflicting at times. This admittedly calls for a blunt analysis of the existing processes of all areas of the company – this is something which takes courage, as an entrepreneur,” says Amelie Holstein.
Health at the workplace, conduct towards colleagues and partners, the degree of knowledge transfer and training and, of course, the handling of natural resources are analyzed, for example. A rather important measure was the creation of a CO2 footprint assessment by an external service provider. Using this analysis, VISUS will develop measures in the future – with the involvement of employees – with which individual areas of activity are to be optimized further. “The fact that CSR is a corporate objective has far-reaching consequences. The corporate activity of VISUS must lead to an improvement in the areas of environment, workplace and community. Otherwise, the corporate objectives will not be reached,” says Amelie Holstein. “Climate changes are directly related to the global health risks for humans which must be reduced.”
GOFORGREEN and GOFORFAIR: the labels for climate protection and social affairs
What this means in concrete terms can be shown well using CO2 emissions as an example. Like all service companies, VISUS also has potentials for optimization in the area of mobility. “Traveling is bad for the climate. This isn’t even open for discussion. However, what we need to discuss is the question of how we can contribute to minimizing climate damage. We are currently working on three measures: scrutinizing the need for business travel, structuring the nature of the travel to be more environmentally friendly, and compensating for any CO2 emissions generated.
The goal is CO2 neutrality at the company site by 2025“, says the CSR manager. These objectives are to be reached through the gradual formation of a fleet of electric cars, the development of digital meeting and training options, and compensation for emissions via the “KlimaPott”, the compensation fund of VISUS. Money is deposited in it for each emission which in turn preferentially benefits regional environmental protection projects.
In the future, all projects at VISUS which promote climate protection will receive the label “VISUS GOFORGREEN”, which VISUS itself launched. “In this way, we also want to show that climate protection within the framework of the CSR strategy has lasting significance and is not just a brief phase. And with this label, we also want to raise the awareness of our employees (m/f/other) and our customers of this topic and encourage reflection.”
At VISUS GOFORGREEN is the label for the future bundling of climate protection measures and GOFORFAIR is the label for the future bundling of social measures, on which we will report continuously.
The switch to a CSR-focused corporate strategy requires a readiness to leave comfort zones behind. It is associated with work, a change in thinking and, not least of all, with investments which will represent high added value for all parties in the medium term – something that VISUS executive management is convinced of. Because even today, attractive employers and service providers are characterized by more than just the highest salaries or the lowest prices – what counts are attitude and sustainable management from which everyone benefits. With this in mind: “Everyone’s health is something we care deeply about,” summarizes Amelie Holstein in a fitting conclusion.
"The health of all is close to our hearts"
The CSR Competence Center Ruhr is a project of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and receives support from the European Regional Development Fund (EFRE). To implement the project by the end of 2020, the business development department of Dortmund, the Ennepe-Ruhr business development agency, the Center for Civic Engagement (CBE) in Mülheim, the national UPJ network for corporate citizenship and CSR (Berlin) have come together to form a project network.