Can CSR help businesses make more money?

The results are in. The business case that has taken decades to build is now proven. CSR is a competitive advantage. It is a driver of revenue, of stability, and of shareholder value.

The results are in. The business case that has taken decades to build is now proven. CSR is a competitive advantage. It is a driver of revenue, of stability, and of shareholder value.

Chris Satterthwaite, CEO of Chime Communications recently wrote: "In PR, Good Relations is continuing to do well and so is Open Health. The underlying view is that we're still interested in the PR market and corporate responsibility." 

The group's interim headline results for the six months ended June 30 showed that the business' pre-tax profits have grown by 47% compared with last year. That is a pretty big number.

Let's take a multinational example: Unilever has been concentrating on growing its global business with a significant concentration on CSR, especially after purchasing Ben & Jerry's about 12 years ago. It recently said: "its new sponsorship, which will be announced 'in due course,' will fit closely with the company's sustainable living plan, which aims to double the size of the business while reducing its environmental impact and increasing its "positive social impact."

Recent studies have indicated that voluntary disclosure – mainly through press releases – of greenhouse gas emissions [GHG] result in a higher share price for the enterprise. The concept is fairly simple: If an enterprise discloses its environmental impact, the investment community can “price” the risk of potential problems.  

By being able to price the risk, the investment community ultimately rewards the disclosure, as it relates to their competition.  

On the other hand, if an enterprise does not disclose its environmental impact, the investment community prices the enterprise as a greater investment risk. The bottom line: investors will price according to the amount of disclosure. If they don't know what's happening, the risk, according to them, is greater. Consequently, those that voluntarily disclose their activities (related to environmental activities in this case) enjoy a greater share price.

The results are in. The business case that has taken decades to build is now proven. CSR is a competitive advantage. It is a driver of revenue, of stability, and of shareholder value. So don't be afraid to encourage your clients to actively get involved, no matter what you call it – corporate social responsibility, business for social responsibility, sustainability, sustainable business, double bottom line, triple bottom line, integrated bottom line, enlightened capitalism, compassionate capitalism, green business, ethical business…


Joe Sibilia is CEO of CSRwire.

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