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