The goal of the CSR Competence Centre Rhineland is to highlight CSR as a management tool in small and medium-sized businesses and to raise their awareness for the concept of responsible corporate management. It will act as a central and fixed point of contact in the region and as a source of practically-oriented information for the following four dimensions of CSR: the market, workplace, the environment and the community.

A comprehensive approach in which CSR is not viewed as a burdensome compulsory obligation but as a strategy and a method for generating competitive advantages in the market, is also important.

The project sponsor, the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes socially responsible corporate activity to constitute an important contribution to the economy. It has been working in the area of CSR for several years, and offers its companies assistance and services in this field. The topic of cooperation was also at the heart of the activities in terms of the CSR Rhineland Initiative project which was supported by ESF funds (from 2011 until 2014). A variety of goals were achieved thanks to the strong networking at different levels. Cooperative partnerships have been initiated and supported in the field of social engagement in order to grant small and medium-sized businesses systematic access and to raise their awareness for exchanging knowledge at the charitable and social levels as well as with training and educational organisations.

Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences has created a wide-ranging study offer and portfolio of research which also benefits medium-sized businesses in the region. It has been working in the area of CSR/sustainability for several years in terms of academic theory and at the practical level. Its mission statement of “responsibility in society and the economy” is implemented in the teaching on a subject-spanning basis. Its portfolio is rounded off by the Master’s Course in CSR & NGO Management. In the field of research, the CSR mission statement of the university is reflected in a variety of academic and empirical studies which have been discussed in several publications. The relations with the companies are also fostered at the annual Companies Day, to which companies from both the local region and throughout Germany are invited.

Conferences and symposia with the objective of encouraging networking between companies, universities and other social organisations and institutions have also been successfully held at the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.