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Study Finds Increased Commitments to Social Responsibility

Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010

The 2010 BSR study was released during the annual BSR Conference in New York, November 2-5. What was so unexpected about the findings from the study this year?

Good News For CSR

Well, with the uncertainties in the global economy, I was bracing myself for disappointment. But so convinced are they of the performance value of a CSR strategy, business leaders once again are rallying behind their commitments to social responsibility and sustainability. The study reported that 94% of the 250 BSR members from around the globe will either maintain or increase their spending on social responsibility and sustainability in the coming year. Businesses continue to see the impact of their investment in the fiscal bottom line and in the conversation taking place among consumers on-line and in the communities where they do business.

An Important Realization

So why are business commitments enduring? Companies realize the important role they play in the social, economic, environmental and political ethos of the world in which we live. They know that an increasing number of consumers expect nothing less of them. The conscious consumer or the citizen consumer believes their transactional relationships with the businesses they support to be extensions of their own values, able to expand the reach of their own influence. These consumers also see themselves as stakeholders in the ethos.

Shift In Focus

According to the study, climate change will continue to be a significant priority for 63% of the companies surveyed although social issues, namely workers' rights and human rights have moved to the top of the list of 'most significant issues' to be addressed by member companies. This shift from the environment to the social is less expected, but perhaps it sends a strong message about the need to offer workers a more meaningful experience in the relationship we have with them as well as the need to improve the integrity of the supply chain. I sincerely hope the BSR is sufficiently provoked to probe this finding more thoroughly. I'll have a look at these important business assets and the innovative approaches being taken by some of our enlightend business leaders in upcoming posts.

What additional insights from the BSR study would you like to see probed a bit further?


Photo credit: Thomas Vander Wal, A Box of Chocolates, April 2007 via Flickr