From our readers - CSR has gone beyond the compliance route

Anthony Hilton's views (News, 5 September) on how CSR will survive the credit crunch make for interesting reading. Seeing CSR programmes as primarily a PR exercise is an old view that should be well and truly forgotten. But, as Hilton says, companies that see CSR as an integral part of their business should survive.

Today's CSR can help companies weather the storm through improved efficiency. A good CSR programme forces a business to question its products and processes with a new eye towards reducing waste and inefficiency.

CSR has now gone beyond compliance. Investors are well aware that extra financial factors can seriously impact company earnings. A strong, well-implemented CSR policy prepares companies to navigate these tricky issues.

But complying with CSR legislation is only the beginning. Sustainability encourages companies to do things differently, leading to innovation and ultimately sustainable business growth.

The companies that have got it right have internalised sustainability within their business processes and have not regarded it simply as something to make them look good, whether they communicate it or not. These companies will smoothly ride out the economic downturn, while still allowing for growth and innovation.

Ultimately, what you do is more important than what you say. As Hilton says: 'By their actions shall they be judged.'

Diana Verde Nieto, founder and CEO, Clownfish.

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