Minister warns companies of 'skin deep' CSR

Companies should steer clear of a 'skin deep' approach to corporate social responsibility, CSR minister Douglas Alexander warned this week.

Alexander launched the Government's second CSR report and strategy for promoting corporate responsibility at the DTI on Tuesday.

He said: 'This is an opportunity for business and society to work together ... CSR should not just be for show, and should not only be skin deep.'

At a separate event showcasing a CSR survey undertaken by Echo Research, Alexander said CSR must extend beyond corporate affairs and philanthropy in order to make a sound business case.

According to the Echo survey, CSR is moving up the corporate agenda with more than 80 per cent of CEOs and CSR decision-makers now convinced that corporate responsibility delivers direct branding and employee benefits.

Of the 170 decision-makers questioned, 76 per cent believed ownership of CSR must reside with the board if it is to succeed.

The role of specific departments including PR and corporate comms is less clear, however. Only 16 per cent of respondents said communications should have ownership of the issue.

PR's main contribution is still seen in terms of communication of strategy and crisis management, even though 22 per cent say corporate communicators should take a lead role in CSR strategies, and 49 per cent say they should provide primary support.

Leader, p8.

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