Posts Tagged ‘CSR

‘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.

More news from IPRRC Miami – Prof Mary Ann Ferguson of the University of Florida is a well known researcher on corporate social responsibility (CSR). She and colleagues have built up a database of all the awards – national and international – that are given for best practice in CSR.


In a beta form, it can be found at and is fully searchable.


One research outcome from their review of awards is that companies which have received at least one award for CSR have profits that are on average $1 billion a year greater than those which have not. The winner’s revenues are $13 billion greater than those without. Does this mean that CSR really is “business effective” or a factor of the size and management performance of the companies? A correlation is implied but CSR is only one factor in a corporation’s performance.


Companies winning most awards are PepsiCo, Marriott International, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Nike, Cisco Systems, Novartis, Principal Finance and Citigroup (!). Nike, in particular is under constant activist criticism for its behaviour and Citigroup is a financial basket case at present.


Sectors most likely to win CSR awards are accommodation and food, electronics, professional and scientific, information and manufacturing. The laggards are construction, utilities, management of companies and transportation.

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Tom Watson

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