You are here
CSR: the system also concerns small businesses and SMEs Business 

CSR: the system also concerns small businesses and SMEs

The label “responsible suppliers and purchasing relationships” and formerly reserved for large groups is now extended to VSEs and SMEs. Since October 1, 2017, they can  submit to this label and enjoy its benefits .

Indeed, the importance of Labels for businesses is no longer to demonstrate. Owning a label testifies to the security and quality that a company offers in its services or productions. This has the effect of increasing the trust of customers as well as suppliers and other partners.

And, it is precisely to enable serious companies to stand out from the crowd, that in 2012 was launched the label “  responsible supplier relations  ” become “relations suppliers and responsible purchasing” (RFAR) . This label, which is the only one awarded by the public authorities, is intended to distinguish companies that have demonstrated “sustainable and balanced” relationships with their suppliers.

CSR is not only for large groups. The scheme also concerns small businesses.


Since the creation of this label, the business mediator , the responsible authority, has worked on thousands of files covering various topics: non-compliance with payment deadlines, theft of intellectual property, abrupt termination of contracts, competition judged unfair …

Until last October, the label was only reserved for large groups . To benefit, the latter had, under the approval of a certifier commit for three years on a series of measures: financial equity, appreciation of the total cost of the purchase, prevention of corruption …

39 groups already hold this label . Faced with the requests of the smallest companies to be eligible, the business ombudsman finally decided to ship the SMEs and the TPE in the lot of the entities covered by the RFAR. The announcement was officially made on Monday, September 25, 2017 and the measure took effect on October 1st .


Before the entry into force of the measure, a test phase was observed to judge the possibility of opening this label to SMEs and VSEs . For this test phase, three companies have committed over two-three years to comply with the conditions imposed: Lic, a consulting firm in the digital; Sealock, which specializes in manufacturing industrial glue, and Square, a free communications agency.

Regarding the conditions, the evaluation method has been revised to facilitate the procedure for these new companies. Even if the texts of the label remain unchanged, the evaluation is not done exactly as in the case of large groups.

However, before the entry into force of this measure, the RFAR has been enriched by new guidelines. It incorporates the elements of ISO 20400 “responsible purchasing” adopted just before the summer. An integration that makes the label international .


The RFAR is open to all companies and organizations that have signed the responsible supplier relationship charter .

Only condition: commit to three years to respect certain measures.

The process is currently supervised by the four accredited evaluators. These are GS, Asea, Afnor and CSR France .

Compared with large groups, the price of the approach is lower for SMEs and very small businesses . Moreover, the evaluators judge these companies more on the results and the impact on the subcontractors than on the procedures put in place. Also, for the evaluation of these companies, some areas such as “support for the consolidation of sectors and international deployment” are not as demanding as in the case of large groups.

Related posts

Leave a Comment