CSR offensive

Companies today accept that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an inextricable part of their reputation and brand identity. But despite the many billions of dollars spent every year, few have distinguished themselves through their CSR activities.

by Stanford Social Innovation Review
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

More effective spending of CSR resources could build reputations way ahead of competitors' and so be a powerful differentiator.

To achieve this, businesses should go on the CSR offensive by picking out and focusing on a significant issue where they can make quantifiable progress.

BP is cited for an initiative to aggressively reduce its carbon emissions. It did this before anyone else in the energy industry and over-delivered, so establishing itself as a industry leader in CSR.

Companies should also use their own operational and organisational capabilities to tackle external problems to achieve 'game-changing CSR', rather than just donating cash or product; eg, General Electric's healthcare initiative in Africa, which produced a functioning hospital in just nine months.

Changing the game
Mark Kramer and John Kania, Stanford Social Innovation Review, spring

Reviewed by Steve Lodge.

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