Mike Broad, Mike Johnson and Helen Rowe report on what's happening in HR around the world
Survey asks is CSR here to stay
A new report shows that although corporate social responsibility is rising in importance, it still has a long way to go to become part of everyday corporate life.
Giving Back 2, by UK-based Echo Research, quizzed senior executives and analysed media comment in China, France, Germany, South Africa, the UK and the US. The result? "CSR is rising in prominence in terms of the number of world events with CSR implications, the attention paid to it by the media and the importance being shown in it by globally operating companies."
"There is no doubt," said Echo director Nigel Middlemiss, "that major corporations who have seen the angry, often violent protests of the anti-globalisation movement, know that it isn't enough to be good, you have to tell the story of how good you are."
Findings from the report include:
- Key benefits of CSR are building corporate image and reputation and the recruitment, retention and motivation of employees
- There is an increasing view among corporations that CSR must be aligned to business strategy and must be justified in terms of business benefits
- Inclusion in ethical investment funds will be a strong benefit to CSR in the future
- The post-11 September business world is split on CSR. Some see it as spurring corporations into action to be seen as more caring, others cite budget cuts from self-imposed 'recession' as leading to a drop in CSR activity
And HR-related issues were seen as major beneficiaries of CSR programmes. Leading perceived benefits were :
- PR/Brand 32%
- HR 24%
- Community 18%
- Impact on society 13%
- Meeting specific needs 13%
As to who should take responsibility for CSR issues, no-one suggested HR. Most popular was the CEO's office or a dedicated CSR function. Even public affairs, communications or PR were hardly mentioned as the function to take on the role.
But there are major barriers inside businesses to implementing CSR and getting budgets for it. The report cited eight key reasons for CSR's struggle for recognition even in good conditions:
- Line managers caught up in day-to-day work
- Middle managers under pressure to achieve budgets
- Top manag