Royale Union Saint-Gilloise – Developing a first CSR Strategy

Greenfish developed a CSR strategy for Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (RUSG), a Belgian football club in the first division, part of the Jupiler Pro League.

One of our projects was the development of a CSR strategy for Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (RUSG), a Belgian football club in the first division, part of the Jupiler Pro League, and that is committed to step up their corporate social responsibility.

This project was led by Jessica Peters, supported by Johanna Delmelle and Quentin Lancrenon for workshop facilitation and Emma Van De Sompel for ongoing project support. The team was carefully put together so it would contain the right combination of experienced CSR-management and technical expertise.

As with every case, the project started with an outline of the needs of the client. In this case, the challenges ranged from complying with laws and regulations to adapting to future trends while mitigating the impact on society as much as possible. RUSG needed a clear CSR & Sustainability strategy with an accompanying roadmap and clear actions to support its journey.

A CSR strategy can attract, retain, and maintain employees, clients, and partners, and in this case also increase engagement with other stakeholders such as fans and the community around the stadium. CSR can also trigger media interest and a good reputation that will grow your market share and business opportunities, but, most of all, and key to RUSG is that it will support decreasing both the social and ecological impact while engaging with stakeholders.

Our approach: start with defining a focus which considers the impact on society

To define the focus of any CSR and Sustainability strategy, we recommend starting with setting up a materiality assessment during the first phase of the project. As defined by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), “Material topics are those topics that have a direct or indirect impact on an organisation’s ability to create, preserve or erode economic, environmental, and social value for itself, its stakeholders and society at large.” We conducted surveys and interviews with RUSG’ stakeholders to investigate the importance of topics and to assess the current and potential impact of the football club on its ecosystem. The results are consolidated in a materiality matrix which is a good tool to use for defining the strategy.

The matrix outcome, while keeping in mind the prevailing laws and regulations, was used to set high-level commitments and define SMART objectives and KPIs for the strategy. The deliverable of the second phase consisted of a CSR strategy with an accompanying implementation plan. This plan directed the actions but also specified which actions needed to be done by whom.

Besides reaching the goal of a greater positive social and ecological impact, the added value of our project can be found in an increase in awareness among the team and its fans. During the implementation of the strategy in the coming years, the club can serve as an example for other football clubs – in a world where attention to socially responsible business is still only in its early stages.

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Julie Bleeker