Stand-alone corporate social responsibility departments have become a thing of the past, according to analyst house Echo Research.
Ninety-six per cent of global CEOs told Echo that sustainability issues should be integrated into company strategy and operations, while 88 per cent added that they should even be integrated throughout the supply chain.
The public endorsed this need, with 63 per cent saying that individual business leaders 'must restore lost confidence by embedding CSR into their business models'.
The report, A World in Trust - Leadership and Corporate Responsibility, reveals that brands are more likely to use CSR for commercial benefit (30 per cent) over and above reputational protection (24 cent).
However, 72 per cent of CEOs added that brand trust and reputation were still 'top factors' in sustainability.
The report polled more than 400 individuals globally including Coca-Cola chairman and CEO John Brock, Pernod Ricard director of public affairs Armand Hennon and Diageo CEO Paul Walsh.
It showed that the sector attracting the most press coverage for its CSR activities was financial services. Second came consumer products and petrochemical was third.