Perceptions of corporate CSR performance see slight improvement

Perceptions of how well the corporate world as a whole is living up to public expectations around its social and environmental responsibility have improved in the latest wave of GlobeScan tracking, for the first time in ten years.
At the start of the last decade, in the wake of Enron and a number of other major corporate scandals, GlobeScan recorded a sharp decline in the degree to which people around the world saw a range of industries as living up to these responsibilities. At the same time, public expectations of companies across a range of different social and environmental responsibilities rose, creating a large gap between perceived corporate performance and public expectations around CSR. Despite an ever-increasing focus on environmental and social goals among corporations in the decade since, this gap had persisted – and indeed, continued to widen.
However, this year’s slight increase in perceived corporate CSR performance suggests that the responsible business message may, perhaps, be starting to get through – although in some key countries such as the USA, no improvement is apparent. A continued focus by corporations on relevant and coherent themes in their CSR messaging, a judicious use of corporate brands to unify initiatives, an understanding of how to use new online communication channels, and appropriate partnerships with NGOs and government will all be required if this improvement is to continue.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2011
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.