Project single


“Impact Measurement and Performance Analysis of CSR”



Forthcoming conference:

IMPACT Final Conference - 18-19 June 2013, Brussels


Project background and objectives

Since 2001, the European Commission has defined corporate social responsibility (CSR) as the voluntary contribution of business to the pursuit of competitiveness, social cohesion, quality of jobs and environmental stewardship. In March 2010, the EU’s new 2020 strategy reaffirmed these principles, setting out long-term goals for “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” in the EU27.


Yet the actual value of CSR in tackling the most challenging global issues has been contested. Research on CSR so far has mostly concentrated on assessing benefits for companies. Against the backdrop of the current crisis, there could not be a better time to ask: what benefits and impacts does CSR actually bring to business and society at large? How can managers, policy-makers and stakeholders better measure and analyse its outcomes? What does this mean for smart mixes of public policies and corporate strategy and action?


From March 2010 until March 2013, the “Impact Measurement and Performance Analysis of CSR” (IMPACT) project will break new ground in addressing these questions across multiple levels and dimensions. Based on an overarching conceptual framework it will combine four empirical methods -econometric analysis, in-depth case studies, network analysis and Delphi analysis. The project will generate hard evidence and new insights if and how CSR impacts on sustainability and competitiveness in the EU 27. Sectors to be analysed in particular depth will be: Retail; ICT; Automotive; Construction & Real Estate; and Textiles.

What makes IMPACT unique?

  • European Commission’s largest ever research and knowledge development initiative on CSR, supported by € 2.6 million in funding under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research.
  • Systematic attempt to measure the contribution of CSR to the social, economic and environmental goals of the European Union.
  • Evidence-based assessment and analysis of CSR impact within companies, across industry sectors and regions, and at national and EU levels.
  • A inter- and transdisciplinary research design
  • A complementary consortium of sixteen top European research institutions, focussing on sustainability research, business schools, universities and CSR networks.

Why is IMPACT relevant to business and stakeholders?

  • Knowledge on actual impacts of CSR on sustainability and competitiveness in the EU
  • Empirical insights to explain CSR impact in relation to the drivers, motivations and determining factors surrounding it.
  • New knowledge to support companies to better align and integrate CSR assessment methods and frameworks in their operations.
  • Improved dialogue and transparency between business and key stakeholders on approaches used to measure CSR-based contributions to societal and environmental goals.
  • Enhanced understanding of how public policy can foster and support CSR impact.

How will IMPACT contribute to inform future policy?

  • Deeper understanding of the macro-economic impacts of CSR and its relevance for the “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” objectives of the EU 2020 Strategy.
  • Evidence-based identification of public policy approaches that foster greater uptake of CSR impact creation at regional, national and EU levels.
  • New stakeholder insights on corporate approaches to internal and external communication of CSR performance measurement and on interest of civil society to successfully discern actual CSR impacts versus CSR rhetoric.
  • Ongoing knowledge development to better inform internal training and awareness-raising programmes in policy-making institutions.


Where to get more information and follow progress?

Project Website:

Project Coordinator/Scientific lead: Regine Barth, Oeko Institute              

Dissemination: Simon Pickard, EABIS






Business Case,
Strategic Management,
Supply Chain,
Sustainable Development,
Corporate responsibility,


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