Gone are the days when companies could detach themselves from the people they impact. Today, they must fully embrace their role as corporate citizens, as driving forces whose policies and practices play a key role in addressing social and environmental issues.
Indeed, we’re all in this together.
And now that the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) may soon become an official law in Europe, this shift in perspective has become particularly fundamental for businesses operating in the EU.
Denmark-based consultancy firm GLOBAL CSR is helping companies meet the global standard for responsible business conduct with csrCloud, a one-of-its-kind Caspio-powered compliance platform.
Here’s how they’re guiding businesses worldwide to act responsibly.
Human Rights and Social Sustainability at Its Core
GLOBAL CSR has been at the forefront of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) — helping private companies, public authorities, education institutions and nonprofits worldwide maintain sustainable practices since 1996.
Over the last 25 years, the firm has served as an advisor to the EU Commission and the International Labour Organization. It was also instrumental as an expert advisor during the creation of the EU’s official guide to human rights for SMEs, which was translated into 25 languages and published in 2012.
GLOBAL CSR worked with Professor John Ruggie, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, while he drafted the “Ruggie Principles” or the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs). In 2011, the UN unanimously endorsed the UNGPs as the authoritative reference for states and companies to maintain a minimum standard of responsible business conduct.
With CSR and human rights experience spanning over 25 years, GLOBAL CSR understands the complexities of implementing corporate social responsibility compliance.
CSR Due Diligence Becomes EU Law
The European Parliament voted by a large majority calling for a new law based on the UNGPs that would oblige companies operating in EU to conduct environmental and human rights due diligence.
The due diligence process, as defined by the UNGPs, is a crucial element in maintaining sustainable practices. During this stage, companies are expected to assess and manage any risks of adverse impacts from their business activities on human rights and the environment.
To make it easier for organizations to manage these impacts, GLOBAL CSR needed a customer-facing application that would bring all facets of CSR compliance into one unified system, enabling companies to fully align their initiatives with the UNGPs.
However, there was no existing software designed to help companies establish and maintain CSR/ESG due diligence and compliance from beginning to end.
So, GLOBAL CSR had to build a solution from scratch.
Digital Aspirations Despite Compliance Complexity
Identifying what they needed is one thing — taking steps to achieve it is another.
Head of Product Development Oliver Norman believed that GLOBAL CSR could help companies align to the global minimum standard by offering an affordable fully digital solution.
However, as a consulting firm, GLOBAL CSR didn’t have engineers or a cloud technology foundation.
“One of our challenges as a consultancy is we are not a tech company. We don’t have the ability to manage secure cloud infrastructure without great cost, time and resources,” Norman said.
Norman was an attorney by profession. A self-taught programmer, he didn’t have formal engineering or development education. But instead of being disheartened, Norman was even more determined to complete the project using a no-code development platform.
“I had this vision that we could completely operationalize and streamline the due diligence processes, which is especially challenging for companies with various business units, value chains and subsidiaries,” he said.
First, they needed an online database with a wide range of functionalities, such as calculations, conditional fields and rich reporting features. They also needed user authentication and record level security features, as there were various user roles and privileges within the due diligence process.
“We looked at different solutions, but Caspio was really our only option. After a consultation with their team, it was clear to us that only Caspio had the versatility and scope of functionality we needed,” Norman said.
With Caspio ticking all the boxes, Norman started building what would become their global CSR/ESG compliance solution.
One-Man Project Becomes Flagship Product
Norman made the most of Caspio to build what is now known as csrCloud — GLOBAL CSR’s all-in-one flagship product designed to streamline the entire CSR/ESG due diligence process.
Initially, the system focused on social impacts, i.e., human rights assessments, but as Caspio released new features such as database triggers, SMS and single sign-on, among others, csrCloud evolved to cover the triple bottom line: social impact, environmental impact and economic impact.
Today, csrCloud is a unified platform covering all the critical facets of CSR/ESG — human rights, environmental sustainability and economic sustainability. It provides onboarding guidance and support every step of the way, with automated workflows that adapt to the user role and current status of each impact assessment.
But it doesn’t end there.
The system also extends to every subsidiary within an organization, allowing them to perform, log and document every step of the impact assessment through machine-validated forms and reports. This makes csrCloud the ultimate turnkey solution to achieve triple bottom line compliance in accordance with the global minimum standard for responsible business conduct.
“csrCloud is the only solution that does exactly this. There are many CSR platforms out there, but this is the only one that’s fully aligned with the UNGPs,” Norman shared. “Apart from streamlining compliance, the application saves considerable time and effort for our customers.”
Why GLOBAL CSR Loves Caspio
GLOBAL CSR was blown away by how much they achieved with Caspio’s no-code platform. “We set out to build this comprehensive CSR compliance tool and I believe we nailed it,” Norman stated.
Norman also recognizes Caspio’s pivotal role in supporting GLOBAL CSR’s mission to help companies achieve responsible business conduct. He outlines some of the notable capabilities they experienced with Caspio:
Norman took advantage of visual point-and-click tools to accelerate the application development process — from designing interfaces and applying record-level security to automating workflows, and beyond.
And because Caspio allows users to inject code when needed, Norman was able to put his tech-savvy skills to good use and design csrCloud’s user experience.
“No other platform comes close to doing what Caspio does in terms of versatility. Personally, I have yet to find limitations of what I can do,” he said.
Although csrCloud is a fairly complex application due to the nature of CSR/ESG compliance, Norman continuously receives overwhelmingly positive feedback about the application’s ease of use. In fact, one client with an academic background in software development and design shared that csrCloud is the most user-friendly software she has ever seen.
I have worked with IT systems for over 10 years and csrCloud is by far the most user-friendly, as well as intuitive and easy to learn. We are truly satisfied with csrCloud, which has really made a difference for our CSR implementation journey.Natalia Kuraszynska
Contour Design Nordic
GLOBAL CSR Client
Norman credits Caspio’s innate versatility for enabling him to build a highly customized application with ease. “It is very impressive that a complex program like csrCloud can be built using a no-code platform. That is solely because of Caspio’s immense flexibility,” Norman shared.
He also recognizes Caspio’s built-in enterprise-grade security, explaining that it helped him prevent potential blowups while developing csrCloud. In fact, he “wouldn’t have dared” to carry out certain procedures without Caspio’s security measures in place.
“Thanks to these built-in guardrails, I didn’t have to worry about anything,” Norman said. “We enjoy the comfort of best-in-class security, encryption and infrastructure without having to ever think about it.”
As a global compliance leader, Caspio meets rigorous industry, regional and regulatory requirements for storing sensitive data. The infrastructure runs on AWS data centers certified for SOC 2, PCI DSS Level 1 and ISO 27001/27017/27018.
Lastly, Norman highlights the outstanding support that GLOBAL CSR received while building and improving the application. While he developed the tool, Norman and the team received support from Caspio through Expert Sessions, personalized one-hour consultations with a Caspio senior support engineer. Caspio Support also helped Norman find solutions quickly to resolve any potential roadblocks he encountered along the way.
“It is a very professional yet personal experience to work with experts who are so reassuring, serving as a great technical asset when I’m in charge of such an important product to our company,” he said.
New Strategies for Sustainable Business Conduct
In response to a new EU directive on mandatory human rights due diligence, Norman and the team at GLOBAL CSR are looking forward to making csrCloud an even more powerful compliance solution for their clients.
They plan to incorporate grievance mechanisms that allow anyone to submit human rights reports. Norman needed to incorporate additional data structures and interfaces, and he succeeded in adding an entirely new module at lightning speed using Caspio. “We built the prototype in just a day and a half,” he shared.
Additionally, GLOBAL CSR plans to use Caspio’s Managed Application Services (MAS) to launch new features moving forward. Caspio MAS will give GLOBAL CSR access to an on-demand team of Caspio experts, allowing them to bring new initiatives to market faster than ever before.
“So rather than having a large internal IT department, we plan to rely largely on Caspio for product development and maintenance,” Norman said, adding that MAS will allow them to focus on their key growth priorities instead of software development.
Build Cloud Apps That Make a Difference
With csrCloud, the path to achieving CSR/ESG compliance is simplified while organizations worldwide can meet their responsibilities with less cost and overhead. The UNGPs was designed to scale up business respect for human rights. csrCloud can fulfill this vision.
You too can build low-code applications that make the world a better place. Best of all, you don’t need expensive infrastructure or hard-to-find IT talent to make it happen.
Caspio empowers you to create custom business applications without the complexities of traditional software development. Unleash your creativity and build solutions without compromising security or scalability. And if you need to inject code, Caspio’s no-code platform is fully-extensible with industry-standard languages.
In additional to a powerful platform, Caspio provides all the support you need to meet your business goals.
“Having worked with Caspio for years, we are continuously assured of their dedication to our success. We simply couldn’t do it without them. Not only are we more confident with Caspio as the perfect partner to help fulfill our vision, we are emboldened to achieve more than we thought possible.Oliver Norman
Head of Product Development
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