December 12, 2014
Casual spectators of business behavior can't help being jaded; every day they see news stories about corporate fraud, security breaches, delayed safety recalls, and other sorts of general malfeasance. But what they don't see is the renewed time and investment companies around the world are putting toward implementing and reporting on responsible behavior (this less sensational side of the story gets far less coverage).
This week, Nick Hayes and I published an exciting new report, Meet Customers' Demands For Corporate Responsibility, which looks at the corporate responsibility reporting habits of the world's largest companies. While it's easy to think that the business community is as dirty as ever, we actually found a substantial increase over the past 6 years in what these companies included in their CSR and sustainability reports.
We also found that for businesses, caring about customers means caring about responsibility. In fact, business professionals who believe that improving their customers' experience is a critical priority for their company are more than twice as likely to think that corporate responsibility is a critical priority as well. These individuals are also far more likely to have concern about environmental sustainability risks. Some interesting trends emerged in the reports themselves too:
There are a lot of stakeholders that care about how responsible your company is: employees, partners, investors, partners, and regulators. But critically, knowing that business and consumer customers alike make different buying decisions based on the values your brand reflects (and are often very vocal if your values aren't aligned) creates great justification for corporate responsibility investments.
I'm encouraged by the progress we've seen, but I'm sure you would all agree that much more can be done. We will continue to track technologies, best practices, and opportunities to share what's working well, and in the meantime, please share your favorite stories about corporations behaving well.