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CSR dictionary for VET

CSR has more than one dictionary. In this section we suggest you a new one, looking at CSR while focusing on VET.

The selection of the words has been done on the basis of the results of the survey we conducted in the first phase of the project and on the basis of a series of face-to-face interviews. The dictionary is ongoing and we expect it will be enriched along the way.


Accessibility in schools is a matter of inclusiveness. An inclusive education system is a system where all learners of any age are provided with meaningful, high-quality educational opportunities in their local community, alongside their friends and peers.

To read more visit the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Accessibility in schools refers to many elements of the school environment including the physical accessibility of the buildings but also the accessibility of the educational materials, just to make an example. Have you ever reflected on the fact that educational materials should be created using a high-readability font? That the website of your school should pass the Accessibility test as defined by the W3C organisation? That you can check the accessibility level of a pdf document and fix errors?

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

Explore the presentation to learn more about IKEA ThisAbles

A source of inspiration for students and schools

Ikea has used 3D printing technology to implement the ThisAble campaign. Building tangible products from the digital world, 3D printing can enable the spread of innovation. The blueprints of these designs are freely downloadable with detailed instruction guides on the campaign website.

| B – B Lab

B Lab began in 2006 with the idea that a different kind of economy was not only possible but necessary — and that business could lead the way towards a new, stakeholder-driven model. B Lab became known for certifying B Corporations, which are companies that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

But we do much more than that. We’re building the B Corp movement to change our economic system — and to do so, we must change the rules of the game. B Lab creates standards, policies, tools, and programs that shift the behavior, culture, and structural underpinnings of capitalism. We mobilize the B Corp community towards collective action to address society’s most critical challenges.

By harnessing the power of business, B Lab positively impacts companies around the world, helping them balance profit with purpose. Together, we are shifting our global economy from a system that profits few to one that benefits all: advancing a new model that moves from concentrating wealth and power to ensuring equity, from extraction to generation, and from prioritizing individualism to embracing interdependence.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

B Lab is a nonprofit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. B Lab is involved in certification but it also represents a network of people with a common goal and offers a huge amount of teaching and learning opportunities.

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| C – Carbon neutral

It means that an institution, business, or activity achieves a net zero emissions target by taking the necessary steps to zero out its greenhouse gas emissions.

| C – Communicate

Disclosure of social and environmental information facilitates engagement with stakeholders and can contribute to building public trust in enterprises. This is a good practice for enterprises and for all kinds of organisations, including VET providers. In the EU, the number of enterprises that disclose social and environmental information is increasing, even if it is still only a small fraction of the companies operating in the EU. To discover more visit the website Corporate Register.

To discover more on sustainability reporting see

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.” — Rollo Reece May

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| C – Corporate Volunteering

Corporate volunteering is also called ’employee volunteering’. It can be defined as initiatives taken by companies to encourage employees to volunteer in local communities or for positive causes.

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| D – Diversity

Diversity is the representation or the make-up of an entity or persons from a range of different backgrounds, cultures, genders and/or orientations. Diversity in the workplace refers to an organization that intentionally employs a workforce comprised of individuals with a range of characteristics, such as gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, and other attributes. The latest (2020) report by the McKinsey series – Diversity Wins – shows that the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time. These findings emerge from the research largest data set so far, encompassing 15 countries and more than 1,000 large companies. By incorporating a “social listening” analysis of employee sentiment in online reviews, the report also provides new insights into how inclusion matters. It shows that companies should pay much greater attention to inclusion, even when they are relatively diverse.

We invite you to read the McKinsey report and explore more on the EU platform “Diversity and inclusion initiatives” where you also can find Examples of solidarity actions among the diversity charters’ signatories

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

While in the past diversity has focused on strengthening inter-cultural tolerance, new ideas about diversity and inclusion have developed, shifting the focus towards enriching human learning and experience. This can be accomplished by either having technology that connects students with foreign knowledge and cultures or by having an international student body to make the learning environment multicultural and diverse. Diversity in the classroom is an added value as:

  • Exploring differences enriches the learning experience.
  • Bringing diverse students together helps with critical thinking or problem-solving
  • Having diverse classrooms helps develop tolerance and a greater sense of security when in environments with other foreign cultures present. It also helps students learn about other languages and cultures, encouraging them to be interculturally sensitive.  
  • Diversity is as important among teachers as it is among students. Hiring teachers from a range of backgrounds is an added value.
  • Learning in a diverse context helps students to be adaptable and open-minded, learn languages, have experience dealing with different cultures, or have an understanding of how other foreign markets operate.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

| E – Easy to read

Easy to read is a way to make information easy for everyone to read and understand. Easy-to-read information is important
for people with intellectual disabilities.
It is important so they can:

  • Learn new things.
  • Take part in society.
  • Know their rights and stand up for them.
  • Make their own choices.

Read more on On the website, you can find Language versions of easy-to-read standards.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

As part of the whole educational community, the VET sector has the ethical duty to give all the students the opportunity to learn and to take an active part in the community. Easy-to-read is a tool to facilitate this process, both for people with intellectual disabilities and for people who do not have the country’s language.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

Explore the presentation to learn more ‘Easy to read’ rules

A source of inspiration for teachers

| E – Environmental responsibility

Environmental responsibility is one of the three pillars of CSR. It can be defined as a business duty to mitigate the environmental damage that comes from business operations or find innovative ways to drive positive, environmental change. Environmental responsibility is a complex issue that can be declined in many ways, especially depending on the type of company: it can generally range from the existence of pollution reduction programs, the extent to which an organization conserves natural resources, involvement in voluntary environmental restoration activities, eco-design practices or the systematic reduction of waste and emissions from activities (Kathy Babiak and Sylvia Trendafilova, 2011).

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

To read more go to the link.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Environmental responsibility”

| E – Equality

Equality is about making sure that every individual has the same opportunity no matter their representation in life and thus ensuring inclusivity. Equality between men and women, regardless of race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, in the professional sphere must be a constant in the various components of work, particularly in terms of remuneration and management processes and career progression.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

| E – ESD Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs (ESD for 2030) is the global framework for the implementation of ESD from 2020-2030.  ESD for 2030 builds upon the lessons learned from the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP, 2015-2019), in response to the increased importance placed on ESD to promote the contribution of learning content to the survival and prosperity of humanity. ESD for 2030 places emphasis on education’s contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. It aims to review the purposes and values that underpin education and reorient all levels of education and learning to contribute to sustainable development and to strengthen education and learning in all activities that promote sustainable development. Given the fact there is very little time left to achieve the SDGs, it is crucial to accelerate ESD in the decade of action 4 to deliver the Goals. As the follow-up to the GAP, ESD for 2030 was approved by the UNESCO General Conference at its 40th Session and acknowledged by the UN General Assembly at its 74th Session in 2019. 

Source: Education for Sustainable Development – A roadmap

| F – Footprint Carbon

Carbon footprint is used to set a baseline for and measure the greenhouse gases a company generates. The footprint calculates emissions generated by electricity, fuel, and waste in a company’s supply chain, broken down into: 
Scope 1: direct emission from sources owned  
Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased energy 
Scope 3: indirect emissions from sources owned by others (upstream/downstream)

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Carbon footprint is not the sole responsibility of companies. Each organization and each of us should take care of this. Monitoring food waste in the canteen, inviting students to reduce the use of plastic or selecting supply chain companies according to their commitment to CSR are a few examples where action can be taken.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Environmental responsibility”

| G – Governance

Governance is the act or process of governing or overseeing the control and direction of something. Corporate Governance is the way that a company is run. Traditionally, corporate governance usually aims to maximise profits for the shareholders of the company. However, there are a number of people and organisations that can be influenced by the operations of a company such as customers, suppliers, employees, communities, governments, civil society, and the environment. In the framework of CSR, company governance needs to integrate business operations and values with the interests of all the people and organizations that are influenced by its activities.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Here are some examples of CSR governance in the VET sector: design educational and governance strategies using an open process in cooperation with the stakeholders; take into consideration the interests of the community, the students and the local labour market in the design of governance structure; include all stakeholders in an open and participatory process.

| I – Inclusion

Inclusion is about the practices or policies, that provide equal presence, access, opportunities, resources, and perspectives to persons from different groups of people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised. Acting an inclusion policy is a must for all institutions, organisations, and entities. Allows for the openness to different ideas, cultures, customs, and lifestyles. Improves the culture, services, innovation, and creativity of an institution or a company. Studies have shown that companies with a higher diversity and inclusion percentage outperform other companies with less diversity and inclusion. An environment where there are many different genders, races, nationalities, and identities present may be considered diverse however, if only the perspective of a certain group is valued or given the authority to influence then this is not inclusive. A diverse and inclusive environment is one where everyone regardless of who they are or what they do feels involved, supported, and respected.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

| L – Labour practices

Labour practices are practices that affect different aspects of the working life inside an organisation such as employee hiring, working conditions, working hours, remuneration, human resource development, task assignment, disciplinary action, promotion, occupational health and safety, human resource development, termination of employment etc. The minimum obligations of a company or organisation related to labour practices are regulated by national and European legislation and practices are monitored also by International organisations, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Failure to comply with these obligations brings legal penalties. However, further than that, there are many different ways through which a company can have labour practices that develop the talents of the personnel, ensure a safe work environment and create workplaces where employees can work flexibly and with diversity.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Here are some examples of labour practices in the VET sector aligned to the CSR principles: ensure the well-being of the people working in the VET; ensure the well-being of the students that are working in a company in the framework of an apprenticeship; ensure that students and employees of VET are aware and know both the labour legislation and best labour practices; participate, in cooperation with companies in activities related to continuous professional development of the employees.

| N – NO Hate speech 

The ability to debate ideas and claims is a central educational value. Companies including Facebook and Instagram, define hate speech as “a direct attack against people — rather than concepts or institutions— on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease.”

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Schools and the educational community as a whole can do a lot on this. An educational environment “hate speech free” is a fundamental goal to reach for the benefit of all the members of the community.

To deepen the topic and involve students in reaching the goal we invite you to explore the website of the No Hate Speech Movement. It is a youth campaign led by the Council of Europe Youth Department seeking to mobilise young people to combat hate speech and promote human rights online. Launched in 2013, it was rolled out at the national and local levels through national campaigns in 45 countries. The movement will remain active beyond 2017 through the work of various national campaignsonline activists and partners.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

Explore the presentation to learn more about the NO Hate Speech Manual

A source of inspiration for teachers

| O – Organizational Citizenship Behavior

It refers to over-role behaviour that goes beyond formal job descriptions and exceeds specified role requirements and expectations, where employees show a willingness to contribute to the organization. This concept describes individual behaviours based on volunteering that help achieve organizational goals by contributing to the social and psychological environment of the organization. These behaviours are defined as Altruism, Civil Virtue, Conscientiousness, Courtesy, and Sportsmanship.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

| P – Philanthropy

Philanthropism or philanthropy, organizing activities to raise the medical, economic, and social standards of others and to increase their happiness.

| P – Positive discipline

Positive Discipline is a program developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen. It is based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs and designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. Positive Discipline teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parentsteachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others).

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Positive Discipline in the Classroom is designed to create a respectful school climate through social-emotional learning, character education, and effective discipline. The Positive Discipline recommendations and tools are an amazing inspiration source for all people who are part of the educational community.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

| RBC – Responsible business conduct

This is an alternative term introduced by the OECD in close cooperation with businesses, trade unions, and non-governmental organisations. The OECD has defined RBC as “making a positive contribution to economic, environmental and social progress with a view to achieving sustainable development and avoiding and addressing adverse impacts related to an enterprise’s direct and indirect operations, products or services.” The Commission has adhered to the recommendations of the OECD on the Role of governments in promoting RBC coherence.

Source: European Commission

| S – Service Learning

“Service-learning (sometimes referred to as community-based or community-engaged learning) is an innovative pedagogical approach that integrates meaningful community service or engagement into the curriculum and offers students academic credit for the learning that derives from active engagement within the community and work on a real-world problem. Reflection and experiential learning strategies underpin the process and the service is linked to the academic discipline” (McIlrath et al., 2016, p. 5).

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Service-Learning is an inspiring approach and, even if the reference main context of application is higher education, is worth mentioning as its principles can be applied to other educational contexts, including the VET sector. To deepen the topic, we invite you to explore the ERASMUS+ platform results and the results of the project “Europe Engage – Developing a Culture of Civic Engagement through Service-Learning within Higher Education in Europe“.

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| S – SDGs Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The reflection on the SDGs has provoked a new and vital ignition of interest in Corporate Social Responsibility, which is now anchored, therefore, not only to corporate and territorial goals but to an engaging global spirit and planetary results.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

As declared by “The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development” (OECD), Corporate Social Responsibility is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more on “Responsible Business Conduct and the SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| S – Social Audit Report

It is the process of collecting, analyzing, and evaluating data regarding the effectiveness of businesses in achieving their social, environmental, and economic goals and reporting performance. It forms the framework of an initiative aimed at seeking quality in terms of the principles it contains.

| S – Supply chain

Supply Chain Management is a process comprised of several distinct but interconnected functions and activities. Internal and external transportation management, warehousing, inventory management, acquisition management, logistics service providers management, resource management, packaging and assembly, and customer services are among the most important ones. Taking into consideration those processes, the main areas of social responsibility in supply chains are:

  • Organizational practices
  • Ethical practices
  • Environmental practices
  • Practices of human rights and working conditions
  • Practices of occupational health and safety
  • Practices to establish relationships with society (Read more on IntechOpen)

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| S – Stakeholders’ engagement

Stakeholders’ engagement includes both formal and informal approaches to communication and connections both individuals or parties have in terms of impact, operations, and financial results. Stakeholders often have the ability to influence the success or failure of a company, institution, or individual at various levels. Therefore, the primary objective of a stakeholder is to initiate engagement by building and facilitating relationships in order to understand their perspectives and concerns on key problems including problems that are associated with the CSR pillars, and to integrate those perspectives and concerns within the institution or organisation strategy. Companies tend to recognize certain values that are associated with stakeholder engagement, including:

  • enabling decision making 
  • enhance business intelligence thereby avoiding or reducing business risks 
  • developing and expanding opportunities, 
  • enhancing brand value and reputation; 
  • bringing diverse perspectives 
  • increasing innovation; 
  •  help drive long-term sustainability and shareholder value.

Shareholders and other stakeholders are more prevalent today to not only boost the bottom line but also to help address some of the country’s most challenging problems, including those concerning economic development and the environment.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

While opinions often differ on how responsibility is divided, the demand for responsibility to be taken in addressing those problems are the same. As a result, the understanding of the views and concerns about various environmental, social, corporate governance and economic issues by stakeholders is vital and should be incorporated and used to address the concerns of the strategic decision-making processes of any institution or organisation.

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| T – The Triple Bottom Line

The triple bottom line is a business concept that posits firms should commit to measuring their social and environmental impact – in addition to their financial performance – rather than solely focusing on generating profit, or the standard “bottom line.” It can be broken down into “three Ps”: profitpeople, and the planet. Read more on Harvard Business School online

The word is transversal to all the CSR pillars.

| U – Universal Design in Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) designs learning environments that are flexible, and where there are no barriers in the way. It is a framework that enables equitable access and participation in education. When we design learning environments proactively for variability, we anticipate and value the incredible strengths and diversity of all our learners (CAST 2018). UDL can help us do this.

WHY is this word worth mentioning?

Providing high-quality education is a matter of social justice. The Universal Design for Learning framework is a lever of change to help make learning inclusive and transformative for everyone. To read more we suggest you explore the UDL Guidelines: a tool used in the implementation of Universal Design for Learning, a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. The UDL Guidelines can be used by educators, curriculum developers, researchers, parents, and anyone else who wants to implement the UDL framework in a learning environment. Guidelines offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.

The CSR pillar to which this word refers is “Ethical responsibility”

| U – University Social Responsibility

University Social Responsibility (USR) enhances educational development and the impact of universities on society. University Social Responsibility (USR) plays a critical role in enhancing educational development and facilitating the community’s quality of life owing to their education, research, and social actions. The concept of USR is an extension of the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which is based on the pursuit of knowledge and truth, the cultivation of civic awareness, and the long-term development of society.

The concept is transversal to all the CSR pillars. Read more on Scholarly Community Encyclopedia

Contact us if you have words to suggest!

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