. The Transom .

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CSR gets lots of attention, little respect

It's very popular to have a CSR strategy (corporate social responsibility) in place these days. Companies are touting how charitable they are, or how green they are becoming. Green has even emerged from the CSR umbrella to form its own strategy. It used to be not too long ago that being green was the environmental part of CSR. Now it's too popular not to be it's own buzzword.

Citigroup announced today that it will be spending $50 billion (yes, with a "b") over the next ten years on CSR initiatives. Bank of America has committed $20 billion over the same period. That's a lot of money. But what does it do for these companies. Well for one thing, it gets great press. Who doesn't want to be known as environmentally friendly or have a reputation for giving back to the community. Well, I don't.

Giving back to the community implies that you first took something. Would I celebrate the character of a man who took $100 from my wallet, but came back and gave me a buck? Gee, thanks. Companies need to be doing these CSR initiatives because it's the right thing to do - for the environment and for the stakeholders. Let's not pretend that corporations, even in CSR initiatives, don't have stakeholders to answer to. It's fine to tout our CSR plan, but it better be reflected positively somewhere in the bottom line.

I'm happy we've discovered ways to be CSR-friendly AND make money in the process. Because if we hadn't, no one on Wall Street would be throwing money at it.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home