Suggesting that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is likely to be cut in a recession (News, 1 February) just reflects the lack of understanding of the basic premise of CSR. In a recession, bad companies take bad decisions and anyone considering cutting CSR spend will pay the price.
CSR is actually more necessary during a recession. Without a CSR policy, cutting costs from the supply chain or switching to unsustainable raw materials will have a direct impact on brands and relationships.
CSR can offer deep connections with customers at a beliefs and values level. What won't work is paying lip service. You report that Starbucks is creating a new post of head of comms and CSR. My advice to Starbucks would be to accelerate CSR through three parallel tracks: economic, environmental and social.
Communicating action plans is simple once you have a game plan across the company. But CSR has to be an embedded part of a company's culture.
Richard Strange, founder, Strange PR.