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The Next Evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility

Photo: Viktor Kuryan

The challenging economy and business trends have led many businesses to rethink the way they are running corporate social responsibility efforts, according to a study by Echo Research and the International Business Leaders Forum.

In the study’s interviews with 55 business leaders, it found that standalone CSR departments are going the way of the dinosaur. That being said, the report found that rather than being solely a cost-savings measure, or a PR campaign, sustainability is becoming more and more important to gaining the trust of customers and stakeholders.

In addition, environmental and socially friendly business ideas are spreading across the globe. This month, more than 400 delegates from 18 Asian countries are slated to attend a forum on corporate social responsibility in Kuala Lumpur – and not just representatives from Western companies.

“We’ve been tracking Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) since 2000, and have seen it move from PR-driven ‘greenwash’, through to it becoming critical to the organization’s success in driving innovation and change in order to be trusted and valued in the long run,” said Echo Group Chief Executive Sandra Macleod. “While much has been accomplished in a relatively short time, especially among the leaders we spoke to, there is still a long and difficult road ahead as internal structures and systems need to be changed to focus on better alignment with society’s interests.”

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