Corporate social responsibility finally moved from the realms of idealistic philanthropy to that of profit-led pragmatism this week, thanks to a groundbreaking initiative.
The long-awaited report of the Business Impact Taskforce unveiled at this week's CBI conference, and the promised Business Impact Self Assessment tool represent a giant leap for the business community in terms of thinking about reputation; not least in its bold claims of a link between competitiveness and management of corporate impact on society.
The report's main contribution is in moving the debate on from concerns about community and environment to encompass issues closer to the heart of the board such as consumer loyalty and competitive differentiation.
However, if this report is not to gather dust it is going to need to be sold in at a policy-making level by PR and corporate communications professionals who are fully cogniscant of its importance and potential.
In making the link between social impact and competitiveness, the taskforce has provided another real opportunity for this industry to move up the foodchain. And if PROs don't grasp the opportunity, there are plenty who will.