Thanks to the advice from leading practitioners in the PR industry, senior executives who believe that their company can ‘do CSR’, as some sort of bolt-on marketing activity, have become less and less prevalent.
The penny has finally dropped that ethical business means just that. It means that ethical behaviour – in terms of the way employees, local stakeholders and the environment are treated – has to be established in the very DNA of an organisation.
This is the message that comes through loud and clear from some of the experts on corporate reputation in the following pages.
CSR Practice’s Jed Bailey calls it the ‘I get it’ moment, but suggests that many still don’t, while Clarion’s Gary Freemantle warns that today’s consumers will not hold back from scrutinising CSR policy.
For these reasons Corporate Culture’s John Drummond rightly identifies PR practitioners as the key agents of change, pointing out what exciting career opportunities this creates.
Elsewhere Green Row’s Helen Trevorrow focuses in on the ever more intense green debate, arguing that it is indeed hard to create authentic environmental CSR campaigns, while Munro & Forster’s Jayanti Durai praises that minority of large corporates that really make a difference through their work.
Finally, Planet 2050’s Brendan May suggests that real change starts at home, and that practitioners must walk the walk if they are to overcome entrenched scepticism among opinion-formers, and Trimedia’s James Wright gives us the starkest of all statistics: 161 newspaper articles on climate change during 2003, rising to 5,296 articles in the first half of this year alone.
If anyone still looks at CSR as a bolt-on, it is clearly time for them to wake up and smell the (Fairtrade and responsibly farmed) coffee.
Click HERE for the 2007 CSR Essays