Report shows massive public concern for CSR

Government has introduced a new strategy to improve business behaviour after
its second corporate social responsibility (CSR) report indicated massive
public concern.

to the report, almost 50 per cent of consumers said that CSR was an important
consideration while 20 per cent would actively boycott products on social or
ethical grounds.

Alexander, minister for CSR, said that the way firms dealt with staff, society
and the environment was now a key business consideration and the Government
aims to provide guidance and incentives where necessary: "CSR should not
be for show and should not be skin deep. The Government has two key challenges:
first, to encourage more organisations to adopt CSR and, secondly, to bring
this attitude into the mainstream of business practice," he said.

outlined the latest strategy explaining how the Government would be working
with business to encourage CSR and ensuring that regulatory or financial
frameworks did not stifle it.

said initiatives like the Payroll Giving System, Community Investment Tax Credit,
Company Law review and the Community Development Venture Fund were examples of
successful government work.

Littlechild, chief executive of the GoodCorporation, a body that verifies firms
against a CSR charter, said that pressure from investors and consumers was
making more businesses change the way they operate: "When we set up the
charter last summer, we expected CSR to move to centre stage but it has
happened much faster than we expected. Companies are realising they have to be
more responsible about ethical performance," he said.

group now has 41 organisations successfully certificated or working towards
verification and is helping the DTI with a report on CSR.

By Ross Wigham

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