Survey indicates a need for comms in CSR

Comms professionals need to become more involved in corporate social responsibility if firms are to succeed in engaging with stakeholders, according to fresh research out this week.

A survey of the country’s top publicly-listed firms found companies are not doing enough to communicate their CSR strategies online - and some fail to include any CSR details on their websites.

The study, conducted by CSR specialist Futerra and communications agency CTN, found 83 companies in the FTSE 100 and 250 have no on-line mention of CSR, and of those that do, little is done to encourage stakeholders to interact or provide feedback.

Only 36 of the FTSE 100 and 17 of the FTSE 250 offer some form of interaction, and 28 of the FTSE 100 have no CSR contact details on their sites.

Futerra director Solitaire Townsend said: ‘CSR is not getting the same level of professional communications as other aspects of business.

FTSE 100 firms BP, BT Group and Sainsbury ranked highly, securing the top three scores, while Next and Daily Mail & General Trust were among three FTSE 100 groups to score 0, providing no online CSR details at all.

Certain sectors performed well, in particular consumer retail, but sectors such as transport and business services and property scored poorly in comparison.

Surprisingly, marketing services group WPP - which owns PR brands such as Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton - scored badly, despite offering CSR counsel itself.

Townsend said in-house comms departments should take more control of CSR: ‘CSR specialists don’t like linking it with PR because they think it moves away from the purity of the concept, but in the long-term it will do damage if businesses don’t realise comms sits at the heart of CSR.’

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