At the start of the recession budgets were reduced and standalone Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) roles were restructured. As a result, CSR became part of media relations, internal communications or marketing to help reduce headcount and costs. Many companies also significantly cut their spend in this area; further reducing the activities for the CSR professional.
Recently we have seen standalone CSR roles making a comeback. Organisations are looking for professionals who passionately believe in reducing carbon footprint and helping businesses to carry out environmentally effective activities.
Before organisations were affected by the recession, many CSR professionals were perceived by areas of their business as having to ‘control a pot of money and give it to charities’. Now organisations hire CSR professionals to enhance employee engagement, public affairs, productivity and to attract customers. It is about successfully combining financial return whilst improving society and creating a sustainable environment.
In recruitment we are seeing a growing maturity in how CSR is described and put into practice. The current trend is to introduce Corporate Sustainability titles rather than CSR to reflect a more proactive and effective approach for business.
Increasingly, customers are becoming more attracted to organisations who are switched on to being ‘green’. It’s part of the so-called Generation Y (under 30s) credentials and it’s more likely this generation will look into a company’s CSR track record before engaging with them as a customer or working with / for them. As a result, I believe organisations will continue to step-up to the mark, take CSR seriously and see the growing importance of standalone CSR roles.
Has there been an increased focus on CSR activity in your organisation over the past year?
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