CDR – a crucial topic in 2023

This article explores what’s behind the term “CDR” and tells you all you need to know about it.

CDR: digital responsibility in a corporate context
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CDR is more relevant than ever

Many managers and employees in senior positions will relate: you finally feel like you’re up to date, in the know about the latest trends, are meeting every expectation, and are on top of regulatory guidelines – and then another new acronym with two or three letters appears out of nowhere and brings you back to square one. Yet another new approach or technology that you need to get to grips with and utilize. Well, you better get used to these bolts from the blue in our constantly evolving and suspense-packed digitalized world. Only recently, we discussed developments such as AI (artificial intelligence), CDPs (customer data platforms), and NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

So, what combination of letters is knocking on the doors of companies now? CDR is lying in wait. All joking aside, the trio stands for an important and actually very pressing issue that isn’t all that new. CDR has been on some people’s radar for a while now. Jakob Wößner is one of them: the chair of the “Digital Responsibility” department at the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) answered our questions on the topic:

How widespread is CDR in Germany and the rest of the world right now?

Jakob Wößner: In my opinion, CDR is gaining ground. It’s no longer just a hype, and companies are starting to implement it successfully. We should draw on their valuable experiences. Companies are also beginning to take the topic seriously. CDR is becoming increasingly present in publications, research, and consulting. For me, that’s another major indicator of its growing relevance.

From what I can see, Germany is actually playing a leading role with regard to CDR. For example, some professors have shifted the focus of their research to Germany because there is more momentum and traction here. We’re seeing similarly promising trends in countries such as the UK, Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands. Generally, there don’t seem to be any land borders when it comes to business and digitalization in particular. The topic is getting more and more relevant on an international scale.

Jakob Wößner
Jakob Wößner, chair of the “Digital Responsibility” department at the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW)

Why is CDR so important?

Jakob Wößner: For me, CDR means way more than meeting legal requirements. It’s about companies’ own commitment to act responsibly in line with their values. It’s also about shaping a digital transformation that keeps people, nature, and our future generations in mind. The goal is to shape digitalization in such a way that our society makes positive progress in challenging areas such as education, health, new forms of work, and much more, while also leveraging new opportunities.

Data offers numerous advantages in this context when we use it cleverly and responsibly. It makes a positive contribution to many sustainability goals. By using predictive algorithms, a proactive approach can be taken to protecting nature, our oceans, and much more.

“For me, CDR is therefore a topic that is much bigger than just one individual or company. I believe CDR stands for a shared responsibility among the economy, political sphere, research institutions, and NGOs to positively develop our society.”

Jakob Wößner, chair of the “Digital Responsibility” department at the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW)

How will the role of CDR develop in the coming years?

Jakob Wößner: I think that CDR will become increasingly significant. Studies show that CDR is one of the influencing factors for companies to make an “impact”. I hope that CDR encourages more people to seriously talk about values and take action to collectively shape digitalization, and that new networks and alliances will emerge as a result. CDR will hopefully establish itself as an overarching topic supported by lots of motivated and committed people.

In the long term though, I hope that CDR is no longer a topic because that will mean it has become common practice in ethical and business actions.

Are there deficits when it comes to awareness and implementation of CDR? How can these be resolved?

Jakob Wößner: In my opinion, these deficits mainly exist because a proper discussion isn’t being had about positively shaping digitalization together. To begin with, digitalization is an abstract and vague topic. In this respect, we have a lot of work to do to educate society so that it understands the topic of digitalization. Only then can we adequately discuss the right things and shape them in a positive sense. I hope we manage to generate a ripple effect that makes sustainable and responsible digital offerings a matter of course – similar to the “organic movement”.

CDR: the BVDW is here to help

Fortunately, you’re not alone when it comes to implementing a CDR strategy because the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) has developed an extensive CDR framework with its “CDR Building Bloxx”. The structured framework helps companies put digital responsibility into practice. It facilitates access to CDR and provides a tangible and logical basis for prioritizing, verifying, testing, and refining CDR activities. Click here to access the CDR Building Bloxx for free and explore a range of practical examples. Plus, we have even more insightful and helpful articles in store for you on the topic!