Corporate social responsibility and public relations are a
contradiction in terms Peter Frankental, business group manager, of
international pressure group Amnesty International UK told conference
delegates last week.
Frankental claimed that while PR is a peripheral function, corporate
social responsibility should be a core component of leadership and
An indicator of what companies really mean by corporate social
responsibility is where they locate this function within their
organisations. The function is often part of divisions like external
affairs, he said. ’It is seen as an adjunct of PR, not something that
needs to be embedded across the organisation,’ he added.
According to Frankental, cause-related marketing and a majority of
current corporate community initiatives ’leave a very large gap between
the expectations of society and the behaviour of companies - this is
what gives pressure groups their credibility.’
Frankental called for companies to adopt a corporate model based on a
recent World Bank discussion document.
He called for respect for human rights, awareness of social issues,
public involvement and the assessment and management of the impact of
investments on communities - to be integrated into its core codes of
practice, internal communications and training.
He also said that companies which fail to develop benchmarks for
evaluating the social and environmental impact of their commercial
activities will find themselves at a commercial disadvantage.
’Eventually companies may be forced to operate according to more than
one bottom line, for example an environmental and social bottom line,’