Is it all over for CSR?

The more I work in the sustainability integration field, the less I get excited about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)… It seems to me that a company can be a brilliant innovator in CSR, thanks to its repertoire of policies, reporting and storytelling – and yet remain a laggard in terms of taking real responsibility for its impacts. Others can be sincerely engaged on the Sustainability Integration Journey yet get sucked back by market forces into favouring shareholders in order to get through a tight spot.

We won’t talk about our own current clients in this context, but this recent post touches on some famous examples, and you will know others…

This is why we launched our research study earlier in 2017 called “Is CSR Changing Business?”. We wanted to know more about what managers really think about CSR and its effect on business practices. The report is now available and I can reveal that we were both surprised and relieved to discover that the managers most involved with implementing sustainability projects in over 100 major companies have moved beyond CSR to impacts in the last 5 years. Indeed many are frustrated that their top executive committees are not following them fast enough.