WHERE IN CSR ARE WE HEADED? CBSR's FIRST QUARTERLY UPDATE
The nature of capitalism is changing in dramatic and disruptive ways. The 2012 year began with the World Economic Forum (WEF) themed: "The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models", focusing on reshaping communities, companies and countries. In his opening speech WEF Founder Klaus Schwab challenged the current state of capitalism saying that it "…no longer fits the world around us" and needs to be fixed to serve society.
Population growth, climate change, and the rise of the middle-class consumer is putting a strain on natural resources and creating high and volatile resource prices. The debt crisis and the growing inequality of income and wealth distribution is a major issue. And, we are now living in a world where society at large is losing trust in some of the important institutions that have been developed over the last few decades.
Companies that recognize the risks associated with the realities of this new era, and harness the opportunities for innovation that adaptation requires, will have positioned themselves to outperform their lagging peers.
In the first quarter of 2012, we saw a stronger effort to address those challenges through transformational changes in demand and supply to scale sustainable consumption; utilization of social media to cultivate trust with important stakeholders; and increased efforts to collaborate with like-minded companies to drive innovation. We are also seeing a closer examination of supply chains, especially in emerging markets, as both business and investors are concerned about potential Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) risks. Finally, we are seeing an increased interest in impact investing, and the flow of private capital to generate solutions for social good.
There is a growing need for interconnectedness between economic growth, social equality, and environmental sustainability. In the words of Sir Richard Branson, from his recent book entitled Screw Business as Usual: “Doing good is good for business.”
This is a list of CSBR’s top five trends for Q1. We welcome your thoughts and additions.