Wednesday 9 December 2009

The ever-growing business case for CSR/sustainability

In a report for IBM Global Business Services, George Pohle and Jeff Hittner make some excellent points from a survey of 250 global leaders that clearly advocate the business case for CSR/Sustainability including:

“A growing body of evidence asserts that corporations can do well by doing good. Well-known companies have already proven that they can differentiate their brands and reputations as well as their products and services if they take responsibility for the well-being of the societies and environments in which they operate.

68 percent are now utilizing CSR as an opportunity and a platform for growth.

Today, a surprising number of companies already regard corporate social responsibility as a platform for growth and differentiation. the shift in thinking from CSR as a cost or risk mitigation effort to CSR as a strategic goal that brings in new revenues.

Over two-thirds (68 percent) of the business leaders surveyed by IBM are focusing on CSR activities to create new revenue streams.

Over half (54 percent) believe that their companies’ CSR activities are already giving them an advantage over their top competitors.

The traditional adage, “buyer beware,” has now become “seller beware.”

A company’s most valuable asset is its ability to convert brand power into customer buying decisions. Only the company that shares reliable information can be a trustworthy “partner in sustainability” for customers who are ready to buy.

What happens when a customer walks into a store, a bank, a showroom, or even a factory floor and asks if the products they see are fair-trade or sourced sustainably? Do employees have the information at hand? Can they answer questions about the company’s labor practices and energy consumption as well as product disposal? Not usually. Are they prepared to have a real dialogue, one in which they learn about the customers’ needs? Not frequently enough, according to the respondents of the survey.

All too often in corporate life, the CEO announces a vision and the average employee is mystified or indifferent. With CSR, it can be different."

Please download the full report here.

I would also highly recommend an article published in the New York Times by Jared Diamond, distinguished author and professor of geography at University of California, 'Will Big Business Save the Earth?' You can read this article here.

Is CSR/Sustainability key to your growth strategy?

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

While this is very encouraging from a global perspective, it appears skewed towards North America, UK & Europe.
However, the implementation of this in the Asia Pacific region (particularly Australian companies) still appears to present some significant challenges for these businesses internally & for those that actively engage in this practice. I hope Asia Pacific based companies can catch up to the rest of the world.