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CEOs see corporate social responsibility catching on

January 16, 2004
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More than 70 percent of CEOs surveyed by the World Economic Forum believe mainstream investors will have an increased interest in corporate citizenship issues.

“We see increased interest in the social and environmental aspects of corporate performance by pension funds, insurance companies and other shareholders. Investment analysts, trustees and portfolio managers appear to be taking these issues more seriously than they were just a few years ago,” says Richard Samans, World Economic Forum Managing Director.

Corporate leaders identified five obstacles blocking more interest from the investment community in how corporations address risks and opportunities related to corporate citizenship:

  • Trouble defining corporate citizenship/corporate social responsibility;

  • Difficulty making and measuring the business case;

  • Problems with quality and quantity of information;

  • Lack of skill and competence in managing and measuring CSR;

  • Problems of time horizon for measured impact on business performance.

    It's critical to present a credible and measurable business case for corporate citizenship, according to survey respondents. Each board of directors and executive team needs to be able to define, explain and ultimately measure the ethical, social and environmental risks and opportunities faced by its company and industry sector, including both intangibles and their impact on reputation as well as the measurable, the study concludes.

    Companies contributing to the report include Accenture, Arthur D. Little, The Coca-Cola Co., Merck & Co., Inc., Siemens AG, and Timberland.

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