CSR and sustainability are terms that are often used interchangeably but there is a distinct difference and as facilities managers, it is important that we understand that difference.

The Difference in Terminology

For businesses, it is useful to think about CSR in the context of the vision/mission of the business. What are the responsibilities of the business, why does it exist, and how will it go about meeting those responsibilities and goals?

It is also useful to think about Sustainability in the context of how the business will operate, especially with a focus on the natural resources it consumes both directly (e.g., coal) and indirectly (e.g., electricity).

How will the business be operated in way that allows it to make a profit today while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs?

Essentially, sustainability relates to the reduction of environmental impact through reduction of consumption (reduce, recycle, reuse). Corporate Responsibility includes Sustainability, but relates to the wider relationship between the organisation, its key stakeholder groups and the community.

There are seven key principles to CSR which can be represented by the diagram below:

Input, Operations, Output Diagram


You can see from this diagram that the Environment is only one of the seven principles – Sustainability is an important part, but only a part of the wider CSR issues.

IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications

This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:

  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
    • FM3.02 CSR and Sustainability in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
    • FM4.01 Overview of Facilities Management
    • FM4.19 Sustainability and Environmental Issues and their impact on Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
    • FM5.01 Facilities Management Developments and Trends
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
    • FM6.02 Facilities Management Governance and Risk
    • FM6.11 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Facilities Management
Find out more about IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications