Corporate Social Responsibility: Not a Passing Fancy

In the past two years as editor of PR News, I’ve gotten mixed signals about the value of corporate social responsibility. Research has run the gamut—from executives really caring about CSR initiatives to putting them toward the bottom of their to-do lists.  However, CSR appears to be top-of-mind with consumers, as a recent global Cone/Echo CR Opportunity Study found 81% of consumers worldwide say companies have a responsibility to address key social and environmental issues—beyond their local communities.

But will that really sway organizations on the CSR fence? Hard to say, but maybe this fact will: The investment community (shareholders and analysts) is beginning to understand the bottom-line value of ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors. The number of unique Bloomberg users of ESG data is up 50% this year, says Tara Greco, senior VP of APCO Worldwide’s corporate responsibility practice. If that stat doesn’t get the attention of leadership, nothing will.

Judging from the growing popularity of our  CSR Awards program, it’s clear that CSR is not going away. For an in-depth CSR recap of 2011 and trends for 2012, check out the 12/12/2011 issue of PR News.

—Scott Van Camp

  • Todd Bartlett


    You bring up a very important question. Last week I attended a “What’s in your Stuff” event hosted by Cone Communications. One of the questions posed to the panelist- “do consumers choose the cool factor over social responsible products when making purchasing decisions?”


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