Companies believe that when they are more open with stakeholders and place social responsibility at the core of their business strategy they will be more competitive, attract and retain the best talent and gain access to new business opportunities, says a global study recently released today by IBM.
Many companies now see corporate social responsibility as a growth opportunity rather than just a regulatory compliance or philanthropic effort, with 68% of those surveyed focused on generating revenue through CSR activities. In addition, 54% believe CSR initiatives contribute to giving their corporations a competitive advantage.
Driving these beliefs is the rising influence of customers who, thanks to their ability to research and share information on the Internet, have become highly sensitized to a broad range of issues -- everything from concerns about climate change, to product safety issues, to labor practices, to corporate financial accountability, to questions about whether corporations are returning enough of their profits to the community.
"The more information these stakeholders get, the more they want to know. This increased visibility of corporate behavior is driving consumers' decisions on what to buy and who to buy from, who to work for, who to partner with, where to invest," said George Pohle, global leader of IBM's Business Strategy Consulting Practice. "It's not only critical for businesses to keep up with the emerging demands of their stakeholders, but to build CSR into the core of their business strategy. That way CSR is not viewed as a discretionary cost but an investment that will bring financial returns. And since customers are changing buying behavior as a result of CSR, the financial impact can be dramatic."
The study entitled,"Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Social Responsibility" can be found at www.ibm.com/gbs/csrstudy.