LETTERS: Cut CSR practices and pay the price

There is as much chance of getting rid of mobile phones as there is of consumers no longer caring about being responsible in business. It is now a vocal part of consumer engagement with brands and it is global.

Suggesting that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is likely to be cut in a recession (News, 1 February) just reflects the lack of understanding of the basic premise of CSR. In a recession, bad companies take bad decisions and anyone considering cutting CSR spend will pay the price.

CSR is actually more necessary during a recession. Without a CSR policy, cutting costs from the supply chain or switching to unsustainable raw materials will have a direct impact on brands and relationships.

CSR can offer deep connections with customers at a beliefs and values level. What won't work is paying lip service. You report that Starbucks is creating a new post of head of comms and CSR. My advice to Starbucks would be to accelerate CSR through three parallel tracks: economic, environmental and social.

Communicating action plans is simple once you have a game plan across the company. But CSR has to be an embedded part of a company's culture.

Richard Strange, founder, Strange PR.

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