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CSR for economic growth

Posted: Tuesday 28 February 12, 4.23pm GMT

As politicians search for answers to stimulate the economy, forward-thinking companies are busy using responsible business to help them grow, writes Jack Mathers, Knowledge & Information Manager at Business in the Community.

Across Europe, thousands of companies use CSR to build trust in their brands, attract and retain motivated and productive employees, manage and reduce risks, explore new markets, reduce costs, and improve shareholder value.

Businesses are not just the lifeblood of our economies – they are the backbone of strong and prosperous communities too. Now, more than ever, with the world facing a double burden of an economic downturn and having to adapt to climate change, companies need to target their CSR activities at those most in need. They also need to work hard to try and rebuild much of the trust in business that has been lost during the financial crisis.

Yielding to the pressures to slash budgets would worsen the plight of the vulnerable and send a message that CSR is only for the “good times”. Boardrooms will want to be convinced that CSR is an investment item that delivers value for money. CSR programmes will need to be targeted at those most in need with measurement of outcomes and impacts built in from the start. Clever CSR managers will leverage greater non-financial resources and create exciting, productive partnerships with NGOs that aim to create capacity by helping people build their own livelihoods through giving them skills and education. Switched-on chief executives will understand the need to maximize the total wealth of all stakeholders. Governance and accountability is the new game in town.

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Sinead Lawler

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