UK - Most business leaders only pay "lip service" to corporate social responsibility despite the high performance it generates, a new report claims.
The study by the Work Foundation and the Virtuous Circle – Achieving High Performance: CSR at the Heart of Business – found “a sufficient weight of empirical evidence” for the financial rewards of CSR.
A Work Foundation league table showed that firms which met high corporate governance standards were 42% more productive than those failing to comply with best practice.
But the report highlighted a “lack of leadership from the top” in putting CSR at the heart of business. It called for “sensible forms of legislation” to bolster investor and company relationships and urged policy-makers to offer incentives for firms to conduct CSR audits.
Report co-author Virtuous Circle member Tony Hoskins said: “Our analysis shows that CSR is no longer merely ‘fashionable’ but an essential component in delivering improved performance, requiring committed leaders to put it at the heart of business.”
A report by the department for work and pensions at the end of last year found that shareholder activism and CSR was “not a high priority” for the majority of scheme trustees.
Insight Investment investor responsibility director Rory Sullivan said:
“Corporate governance and SRI can no longer be seen as separate disciplines – a proper assessment of these issues requires investors to have a detailed understanding of the company, of governance issues in the round – not just the combined code – and a refusal to simply ‘tick the boxes’.”
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