23 April 2008

CSR a necessity - not a choice

Is the discussion about if to do CSR over? Another 'yes' says the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report. Now the main question is how to implement CSR policies?

While most studies I have read so far have a 'one size fits all approach' regarding company size, Grant Thornton have made a useful distinction between a) privately held businesses (PHBs) and b) multinational companies (MNCs):
  • "PHBs are ‘the economic engine of the world’" and they are adopting CSR policies "not just to save the planet but because they are having to in order to survive and prosper."
  • "For privately held businesses, the pressure to act can stem from the demands of the supply chain, with large multinationals increasingly demanding that suppliers conform to ethical business practices."
  • In comparison to PHBs, large multinationals have a far more powerful stakeholder group to consider and have, in many cases, adopted an holistic approach to CSR."
Top CSR drivers for PHBs identified are:

In summary, "while ‘saving the planet’ is a concern, by far and away the main drivers for action on corporate social responsibility are recruitment and retention issues followed closely by cost management."

To me this looks pretty pragmatic but also reactive. It appears that these comapnies are lead by their staff rather their CEOs. Where is forward-looking leadership? Where innovation for new products and markets?