CSR defies downturn

12 April 2010

13 April 2010 | Helen Gilbert

Firms are pressing ahead with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agendas despite the recession, a study of senior procurement professionals has found.

A summary of the poll of 121 CIPS members by Ian Harwood, at the University of Southampton, found CSR activities were well developed within their organisations.

The top three environmentally responsible activities carried out by their organisations were recycling waste (97 per cent) reducing energy usage (91 per cent) and reducing carbon footprint (85 per cent).

Staff welfare (96 per cent), charity work (83 per cent), and local community engagement (75 per cent) were the top socially responsible activities.

Buyers frequently cited CSR as “the right thing to do”, but added that cost reduction and developing positive public relations were also behind the agenda.

Overall, 70 per cent were happy with their organisation’s levels of CSR activity, while 30 per cent felt they were doing too little.

A huge 91 per cent predict an increase in environmentally responsible activity over the next five years, and 88 per cent anticipate a rise in socially responsible activity.

However, only a quarter of buyers were aware of the imminent international standard on social responsibility (ISO26000). 

Elsewhere, Accenture has boosted its procurement spend with diverse vendors from 14.6 per cent to 15.8 per cent in 2008-09. This was achieved by developing a network of minority- and women-owned suppliers, according to the firm’s Corporate Citizenship Report.

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