Opinion: Leader - Modern CSR has roots in Christian welfare

As we look forward to a rare four-day break courtesy of the state, we should remember that the Easter holiday was originally designated by the Church.

To many people, the Christian basis of Easter has been long forgotten, but it is an apposite time to draw the parallels between major UK brands founded on Christianity and the very modern catchphrase: CSR.

As our main feature this week points out, Quaker-influenced Cadbury effectively created the concept of corporate social responsibility around 150 years before the rest of business started taking it seriously. Worth a thought as you bite into your Cadbury Easter egg.

The aim - the Holy Grail, so to speak - for many of today's PROs is to put ethical and socially responsible policies at the heart of the companies they represent. A phrase often applied to this effort is that of establishing CSR in an organisation's DNA - in other words, ethical behaviour that is apparent in all activities from environmental planning to customer service.

Whether Cadbury has achieved this is up for debate, but it can boast an impressive array of so-called 'philanthropic' activities, as well as genuine concern for the welfare of its workforce. In short, it is a case study worth revisiting at a time when CSR is becoming the single most important theme for our industry.

Feature, p 24

PRWeek Awards 2005: now open

Although the event seems a long way off (18 October), PRWeek launches its 2005 Awards this week, with 3 June the deadline for entries. An important new category has been added this year: International Consultancy of the Year. This award will recognise outstanding achievements by consultancies operating in two or more countries. PRWeek is keen to acknowledge excellence in all types of PR operation, from individual practitioners right through to multinational agencies.

Email bridget.drummond@ haynet.com for entry forms, or telephone 020 8267 4090.

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