CSR message goes unheard

5 September 2007
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06 September 2007 | Antony Barton

Many buyers fail to promote their organisation's corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials.

A survey of 77 UK organisations, with over half of the replies from purchasers, found only 35 per cent agree their organisation communicates its environmental commitment effectively.

David Read, chief executive of procurement consultancy Prestige Purchasing, which conducted the survey, said buyers were central to conveying this message by passing on information about sourcing practices to other departments. He said one obstacle is the inability of purchasing departments to communicate their ethical buying policy to the marketing functions.

Last month's findings from market researcher TNS Worldpanel Fashion supports the need for better internal communication. A survey of 6,996 shoppers found 45 per cent of Britain's consumers doubted claims made by high-street fashion stores about their ethical trading.

Elaine Giles, research executive for TNS, said retailers' focus needed to be "more on production and sourcing methods rather than the materials used". She told SM departments must work closer so everyone understands the ethical sourcing methods and how they can best be conveyed to customers.

Read added that some purchasing departments also failed to convey the importance of information, such as food and material sources, to salespeople for pitches.

He said: "Salespeople still tend to sell on traditional means, such as price or product, and don't communicate fully what is going on in their organization and therefore omit competitive-edge details of CSR."

SMsep2007

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