CSR Champions Need To Take It To The Top - Perspectives about The CRO Conference

Intel's Chief Administration Officer Andy Bryant, during his keynote speech at the CRO conference, addressed how a multi-year journey led Intel to be nominated #1 on the CRO Magazines 100 Best Corporate Citizens list.

The conference, held in New York, convened experts and more than 200 corporate responsibility practitioners, professional service providers and non-profit influencers to address financial governance issues, stakeholder communications, and sustainability best practices.

Intel's success can be attributed to making corporate responsibility a competitive imperative.

"Our efforts started at the top and we focused on all key areas including governance, human rights, environment, climate change, finance and assigned accountabilities throughout the organization," said Bryant.

Eaton Corporation has also enjoyed success deploying world-class environmental, health and safety (EHS) practices utilizing the Eaton Business System.

"We aligned our efforts with our brand and business strategy from the outset," said Joey Wolfsberger, Vice President of EHS.

Bryant advocated for public companies to seek leadership from their top officers in raising their level of corporate responsibility.

However, there are still major gaps advocating and properly integrating CSR strategies within corporations - from top to bottom. For example:
  • Reputation Dynamics recently led a CSR survey for The Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) among 1,700 VP-level or above marketing executives in their organizations. The survey uncovered that 62.5% of those who participated work for companies that are not engaged in corporate social responsibility programs due to a lack of interest or priority

These results were at odds with the fact that 60% of respondents think that corporate social responsibility programs have or will have a positive impact on profitability and overall performance of the company.

  • The survey respondents identified opportunities such as employee motivation (71%), influencing customer behaviors (54%), growth and innovation (54%), and increased profits (25%)
  • A recent IBM survey conducted among senior executives and directors of strategy at 250 corporations uncovered another major gap - 76% of businesses surveyed admit they don't truly understand their customers' CSR concerns
Internal CSR champions need help educating and convincing their senior management to make CSR a priority and integrated throughout the organization, rather than a 'nice to have' or a side job.

Even in a down economy, they need to be reminded they are missing out on tremendous business opportunities that not only directly impacts the bottom line, but also offers financial incentives when employees are more motivated and loyal, and positively influencing customer behaviors for the long term.

CSR champions shout louder.


Information about Intel and Eaton CSR efforts can be located at http://www.intel.com/ and http://www.eaton.com/.