‘Telling the story’ is the title of Black Sun’s annual analysis of FTSE 100 corporate reports. The report shows that the UK’s major quoted companies are increasingly focused on social responsibility in their activities during 2010.
One headlines was that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been overtaken by Corporate Responsibility (CR), with just 9% of companies using CSR, compared with 53% using CR. CSR was also behind Sustainability (14%) and just ahead of Sustainable Development (8%). Only three of the 100 top companies did not refer to any of the terms.
This change in nomenclature, says Black Sun, shows that companies are increasingly moving from environmental/social terms through corporate responsibility and on to sustainability, although the strong representation of CR doesn’t validate that argument. A side-light was that utilities companies use CR whilst basic materials companies (miners, etc) use ‘sustainability’. Perhaps an example of opportunistic use of language?
Black Sun comments that CR, in all forms, has moved from being a “non-essential business element and a ‘nice to do’”. Increasingly leading companies are “demonstrating linkages between the company strategy, governance and financial performance, and the social, environmental and economic context.”
As for integrating CR, etc into corporate strategy, it appears that 20% have it “integral to the group strategy” and 33% have a standalone CR policy which “complement(s) the group strategy.
For PR and corpcomms people, the news isn’t all that helpful. Although the esteemed academic Prof Robert Heath long ago staked a claim that CSR should be the responsibility of corporate public relations, there’s no mention of the communication of CR (or CSR) in this report and it appears clear that this important element of organisational policy and behaviour is not seen as the preserve of communicators.