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I. Introduction

Although our organizations are « not-for-profit», they are nonetheless « economic » structures.  In this respect they are as the « for-profit » entities, using human, natural and financial resources. We are a European network of managers (working for associations, NGOs, research institutes, social businesses) who consider that these resources are of great value to our society and must be used in a « socially responsible way ».

Societal Responsibility is a concept that refers to the adoption of sustainable development principles (environmental balance, social, equity, economic efficacy) and good governance (ethical behavior, transparence and involvement of stakeholders) in the implementation of the activity and projects of the organization.

This notion initially appeared in business. Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the voluntary contribution of economic actors to sustainable development. But « CSR » should not remain exclusively in the world of business! On the contrary, as institutional and non-governmental actors we have to set a positive example for enterprises in the stakes of sustainability and responsibility. Gandhi said: “be the change you want to see in the world”. This is the approach that inspires us!

To this purpose we adopted a common reference which will allow us to integrate Societal Responsibility in our own activities and projects. It is the « Societal Code »!

Besides being a responsible endeavor, the adoption of the Societal Code also represents a « strategic » approach! It brings numerous advantages: better opportunities to obtain financing, motivating human resources, better chances to attract talented employees and volunteers, improvement of the relationship with partners, a better reputation and the opportunity to diversify our projects.


II. The societal commitment


The managers of the not-for-profit organizations, members of the network commit to 1 aim, 4 values, 7 principles. They integrate them concretely in their activity and projects using 36 key measures.


1 aim:

>> Adopting Societal Responsibility by integrating the principles of sustainable development and good governance in their core activities.


4 values:

>> Social equity;

>> Environmental balance;

>> Economic efficacy;

>> Good governance.


7 principles:

1. A Societal Responsibility approach based on a long-term vision;

2. Joined-up tackling of social, economic, environment and governance aspects ; 

3. Key measures on responsibility based on references recognized at an international and European level;

4. Training operational teams in order for them to apply the societal responsibility measures in a pertinent and effective way; 

5. Involving stakeholders in the process of becoming responsible;

6. Promoting Societal Responsibility in the organization’s area of influence;

7. Continuous improvement, trough the implementation of corrective actions and generalization of good practices.


36 key measures:



01. Facilitation of equal rights, diversity and non-discrimination;

02. Ensuring equitable and decent working conditions;

03. Ensuring health and safety;

04. Facilitation of continuous learning towards adaptability to labour market;

05. Employees and volunteers performance recognition;

06. Respecting private life and protecting personal data;;

07. Encouraging participatory culture, active citizenship and volunteering;

08. Respect for cultural values and facilitation of intercultural dialogue; 

09.  Respect/ Promote Human Rights.



10. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle the material used in your activities;

11. Buy green goods and services;

12. Rational usage of energy, giving favor to alternative energy sources;

13. Rational and non-polluting usage of water;

14. Management of the impact on ecosystems and biodiversity;

15. Responsible management of waste;

16. Minimizing the impact of transportation;

17. Monitoring and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG);

18. Respecting/Promoting the environment principles recognized internationally.



19. Ensuring cost-efficiency in the implementation of activities; 

20. Ensuring sustainability of the project’s results;

21. Tackling and evaluating the impact on local economy;

22. Creating sustainable working places;

23. Using alternative exchange methods;

24. Respecting the right to intellectual property and promoting free licenses;

25. Promoting societal responsibility among partners;  

26. Promoting social and green economy;

27. Advocating for /Development of not for profit and nongovernmental structures.



28. Communicating the values and principles that your team and partners share;

29. Identifying and involving stakeholders in the activities that have an impact on them;

30. Involving employees and volunteers in societal responsibility actions;

31. Ensuring the transparency of decisions and activities;

32. Reducing the risks of infractions and corruption;

33. Coordination with other local, national, european or international projects;

34. Reporting Societal Responsibility performances to stakeholders and the public;

35. Development and promoting responsible models of financing and partnership;

36. Improving programmes and public policies using the results of the project.


The Societal Code is an initiative coordinated by REPER21 ( The instrument is made available under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 license. For more information please visit