What is the role of the CSR Manager?

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Corporate Social Responsibility has now become a strategic issue for any organisation, regardless of its sector of activity. Given the strengthening of regulatory frameworks, the ecological emergency, and the growing demands of stakeholders (whether customers, employees or investors), companies no longer have any choice but to integrate the main principles of sustainable development into their corporate vision and strategy. To meet these needs, they often appoint a CSR manager, also known as a manager or director of sustainable development, to assist them in their social and environmental transformation.


In this article, you can find all the details of this position: 

  • Main responsibilities;
  • Required skills;
  • Average salary;
  • Required education


What are the responsibilities of the CSR manager?

The CSR manager (or sustainable development manager) is an integral part of the new so-called “positive impact professions. The manager has a strategic mission: to design and implement the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, with the support of general management. 


To this end, the manager will in particular: 

  • Carry out an internal audit of the company’s practices in terms of sustainable development; 
  • Evaluate the social and environmental impact of the company, identifying its strengths and weaknesses; 
  • Ensure regulatory and normative monitoring (ISO 26000 international standard relating to social responsibility, GRI standards for sustainable development reporting, etc.); 
  • Define the strategic axes to be put in place, in line with the company’s other policies (human resources, procurement, etc.); 
  • Manage the projects, in consultation with other departments; 
  • Communicate internally and externally to promote the CSR initiatives implemented within the company; 
  • Produce a report of the actions implemented to ensure their proper implementation. 


The whole challenge of the job is to succeed in investing each stakeholder with this responsibility. Denis Grivet, Quality and CSR Director of the HOLDER Group, agreed with this on the occasion of the 14th edition of the “World Forum for a Responsible Economy”: “the real person responsible for CSR is the buyer who has succeeded to switch from a supply of eggs from caged hens to eggs from free-range hens, it’s the store manager who briefed his team so that the sorting of waste was done correctly, it’s the R&D pastry chef who succeeded in creating a recipe with less fat, less sugar or less salt, etc.” 


What are the skills of the CSR manager?

Above all, the CSR manager must be personally driven by all of these subjects that affect sustainable development: the environment, waste management, inclusion, gender equality, etc. Even if it goes without saying, conviction is the first prerequisite for working in such a profession. 


Secondly, the CSR manager must be proficient in certain technical skills: 

  • Knowledge in the field of sustainable development, environment, and corporate and societal responsibility; 
  • The legislative context, to continuously adapt the company’s policy to new standards and regulations; 
  • Management of complex projects; 
  • Change management. 


In terms of soft skills, the CSR manager must be able to demonstrate: 

  • Analytical skills to understand the impact of the company on the planet, its stakeholders, and its communities; 
  • Teaching skills to raise awareness and mobilise employees and company management around sustainable development; 
  • Good interpersonal skills to interact and collaborate with different stakeholders; 
  • Patience, as the social and environmental transformation of companies, will take place over the long term. 


How much do CSR managers earn?

The average annual salary of a CSR manager (or sustainable development manager) is valued at €50,000 (£41,000), according to Glassdoor, the world leader in job and company information search (data consulted for the United Kingdom in 2022). Depending on the level of experience and the size of the company, this can vary between €34,000 (£28,500) and €72,000 (£60,000). 


What level of education is required to become a CSR manager?

The job of CSR manager is accessible with a level 1 diploma. Different career paths are possible: 

       Master’s degree in environment, sustainable development, ecology, human and political sciences, earth sciences, etc; 

       Engineering degree; 

       Business school, with a specialty in sustainable development; 

However, this position does not always require a prior level of education, as it is still considered a new profession. In some companies, these are above all experienced managers who have in-depth knowledge of their company, and who benefit from training on specific concepts (compliance with legislation, responsible procurement policy, non-financial reporting, etc.). 


Also, during the 14th edition of the “World Forum for a Responsible Economy”, Joséphine Biernacki, CSR manager of the Damartex Group, one of the main European distributors for seniors, goes further in this sense: “The CSR manager is a bit like an orchestra conductor. He needs to surround himself with experts, but ultimately, to carry out a CSR policy well, it’s common sense, it’s curiosity, it’s meeting inspiring people.” 


With several years of experience, a CSR manager can progress to management positions in a company, or join a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or a consulting firm. 


Because the concepts around Corporate Social Responsibility are constantly evolving, this profession promises to become more and more strategic and exciting over time. 


Victoria Vaughan