HARD COMMERCIAL EDGE OF PR 1998: Call to make social responsibility integral to company policies

Corporate social responsibility and public relations are a contradiction in terms Peter Frankental, business group manager, of international pressure group Amnesty International UK told conference delegates last week.

Corporate social responsibility and public relations are a

contradiction in terms Peter Frankental, business group manager, of

international pressure group Amnesty International UK told conference

delegates last week.



Frankental claimed that while PR is a peripheral function, corporate

social responsibility should be a core component of leadership and

business principles.



An indicator of what companies really mean by corporate social

responsibility is where they locate this function within their

organisations. The function is often part of divisions like external

affairs, he said. ’It is seen as an adjunct of PR, not something that

needs to be embedded across the organisation,’ he added.



According to Frankental, cause-related marketing and a majority of

current corporate community initiatives ’leave a very large gap between

the expectations of society and the behaviour of companies - this is

what gives pressure groups their credibility.’



Frankental called for companies to adopt a corporate model based on a

recent World Bank discussion document.



He called for respect for human rights, awareness of social issues,

public involvement and the assessment and management of the impact of

investments on communities - to be integrated into its core codes of

practice, internal communications and training.



He also said that companies which fail to develop benchmarks for

evaluating the social and environmental impact of their commercial

activities will find themselves at a commercial disadvantage.



’Eventually companies may be forced to operate according to more than

one bottom line, for example an environmental and social bottom line,’

said Frankental.



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