Business in the Community welcomes the Thrive survey of corporate responsibility. As we have found over 25 years of working with our members the imperatives now are as relevant as ever to mobilise business for good.
As the credit crunch bites and businesses look carefully at all their activities, employees, consumers and investors will all think carefully about the choices they must make.
The good news is the case for responsible business is stronger than ever. New research released by Business in the Community reveals a statistically significant link between effective management and governance of environmental and social issues and financial performance.
Sponsored by Legal & General and undertaken by Ipsos MORI, the research examines the financial performance of FTSE companies which have measured and managed their corporate responsibility through Business in the Community’s Corporate Responsibility Index over six years. Those companies that actively managed and measured corporate responsibility issues outperformed other FTSE companies by between 3.3 per cent and 7.7 per cent.
Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community commenting on the research said, “Now more than ever, businesses need to demonstrate that corporate responsibility isn’t an overhead but a value creator. This research clearly shows that sustained environmental and social performance does pay dividends – literally”.
The Thrive Survey also demonstrates the moral case for continued or renewed CSR activity. It is clear to Business in the Community that those companies who are seen to be active in engaging and demonstrating responsible business practice will be most likely to build reputation, retain employees, attract the best talent and innovate and react faster to change in society.
The issues highlighted in the survey echo the strategy adopted by Business in the Community members focusing their CSR activity in four key impact areas:
Community – focusing on education, employability, economic renewal; Marketplace: Workplace and the Environment.
At the heart of strong CSR activity, and the key to embedding responsible business practice, is leadership. As businesses and governments focus on the economic pressures impacting on businesses and communities it is clear that those businesses with strong values and strong leadership will sustain and be seen by their communities as responsible, trustworthy and supportive of their markets, their industry, their employees and their communities.
This is the time that leadership is tested and to quote our vice president Dame Julia Cleverdon, “Leadership is like a tea bag. You only discover how strong it is when you put it in hot water”.
The focus for CSR activity by Business in the Community members can be summarised as the `Four E’s` - education, employability, enterprise and environment.
Most of these issues feature strongly in the Thrive survey demonstrating relevance at this moment for businesses and communities in the region. I applaud the Birmingham Post for taking the initiative and look forward to seeing the results of the next survey that hopefully may demonstrate the impact of company CSR strategy and action and the positive difference this makes to society.
For more information on Business in the Community call 0121 451 2227 or visit www.bitc.org.uk
The Value of Corporate Governance: the positive return of responsible business can be downloaded from www.bitc.org.uk
For a copy of the Thrive survey email Annie Roberts – firstname.lastname@example.org