Wednesday, December 9, 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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