A little less talk… and a lot more action

by

communications

A recent international study by IBM revealed that, despite the global recession, most corporations remain committed to improving their corporate social responsibility (“CSR”).

Specifically, 60 percent said CSR is more important to their businesses now than it was a year ago, with only six percent saying it was less important. However, many of those companies’ lofty statements are faltering in practice – with progress failing to keep pace with goals.

IBM’s study cites the following three factors as the primary reasons for most respondents’ lackluster CSR performance:

  1. Companies aren’t collecting the data necessary to analyze improvements in CSR or aren’t compiling it often enough
  2. Few are collecting CSR data from global supply chain partners
  3. Most haven’t taken the time to key stakeholders and don’t have a strong understanding of their concerns

In comparison, high-performing companies report to doing all three items: frequently collecting and analyzing data; incorporating CSR supplier information to evaluate success; and regularly engaging customers in a meaningful way.

IBM concludes that those shortfalls are preventing corporations from implementing real changes that would increase efficiency, lower costs, reduce environmental impact and improve the company’s reputation with key stakeholders. Many respondents admitted to focusing on CSR measures that directly improve efficiency (87 percent) or create new revenue opportunities (69 percent).

While such strategies are important, there’s clearly a lack of understanding that an investment in broader activities such as data collection or stakeholder engagement can also ultimately provide companies with significant business value.

Some naysayers may claim that social or environmental responsibility should take a back seat to the tremendous economic pressures that most companies are currently facing. However, most businesses are still facing significant pressure from governments, NGOs, employees, recruits and customers. CSR data collection can help companies meet regulatory requirements, qualify for tax incentives and avoid unnecessary penalties.

At Paydirt, we are unapologetic about our belief that strong corporate and environmental stewardship can and should have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. Our programs are designed to directly and immediately reduce operational costs, and improve efficiency whenever possible. We employ a fact-based, data-driven approach that responds to the wide-ranging, long-term demands of the marketplace, not just to a company’s need to achieve short-term gains.

We are committed to gathering the data necessary to understand our clients’ global environmental footprint, as well as to building communications programs that engage internal and external stakeholders in identifying the right strategies for decreasing that footprint over time.

While the results of the IBM study are disappointing in many ways, it’s encouraging to see that there’s a need and demand for our services and approach. Here’s hoping we can incite companies to take action – not just talk about what they could or aspire to do!

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