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Monday, August 09, 2010

The CSR of the Enterprise of the Future

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CEO s generally agree that customer expectations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are increasing. While customers have always cared about societal issues, their concerns are now more frequently turning into action and influencing purchasing decisions according to IBM Global CEO Study titled The Enterprise of the Future. “Genuine, not just Generous”
In the recent CSR study, 75 percent of the companies surveyed say that the number of advocacy groups collecting and reporting CSR-related information on them has increased over the past three years. With talent in short supply, employers’ CSR reputations are an important tool to attract and retain employees. Companies are also recognizing that they are being held mutually accountable, along with the public sector, for the socioeconomic well-being of the regions in which they operate. CEO s are clearly conscious of their obligation to “do no harm” and are painfully aware of the regulators and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) monitoring their every step. But they also see opportunity in CSR. CEO s talked about how CSR affects their brands — both at home and in new markets. CSR is also impacting both top and bottom lines and its extremely important to maintain current market share.
Here are some ways the Enterprise of the Future approaches CSR even more holistically.
Understands CSR expectations: Too many companies find themselves relying on assumptions about what CSR means to their customers. Only one-quarter of the companies surveyed in a recent CSR study said they understood customers’ concerns well.32 But the Enterprise of the Future knows what its customers expect. It uses facts and direct customer input as the basis for its decisions.
Informs but does not overwhelm: The Enterprise of the Future is transparent, but unobtrusive. It finds creative ways to provide relevant information, such as codes on packaging that allow interested customers to look up details — sourcing information, potential environmental impact and recycling instructions — while in the store or later at home
Starts with green: Given the price of oil and rising concern over carbon emissions, energy efficiency is critical for businesses as well as our planet. The Enterprise of the Future often begins its CSR changes with environmental initiatives. Through these efforts, it learns more about how to effectively collaborate on issues that affect us all.
Involves NGOs as part of the solution: Instead of being wary of activist groups — or simply reporting data to them — the Enterprise of the Future collaborates with them. For instance, it might enlist NGOs to help monitor and inspect facilities or to assist in establishing industry standards.
Makes work part of making the world a better place: Prospective and existing employees want to work for ethical, socially responsible organizations. But the Enterprise of the Future understands that workers also want to be actively involved in solving CSR issues. 

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