Thursday, May 24, 2007

Everyday Americans waking up to corporate responsibility?

One of the major critiques of the corporate responsibility movement is that the average person on the street just doesn't really care about companies commitment - or lack thereof - to their social and environmental impacts and risks.

However, we (colleagues and I) have been speculating that the mainstreaming of the climate agenda in Western Europe and the USA will (or has?) usher in the broader sustainability agenda - including the role of the corporation - and help bring this to the attention of the everyday person.

The following little survey caught my eye recently which seems to back up this speculation.

Survey: Americans disapprove of companies performance on CSR

A majority of Americans from all sides of the political spectrum have said that they would look towards legislators to correct poor CSR performance by US businesses, according to a recent survey. 96 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Independents, and 65 percent of Republicans say that it is either very or extremely important for Congress to ensure that companies are addressing social issues.

Over three quarters of the respondents to the survey, which was carried out by Fleishman-Hillard and the National Consumers League, said US companies had poor records on CSR, with a big focus on sectors such as energy, food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals as needing more oversight by authorities.

"The generally lukewarm perception of U.S. corporations on socialresponsibility, along with the prevailing belief that Congress may need to get involved, could lead to increased oversight of the private sector on Capitol Hill" said former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent.

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