Ethics treated 'as PR exercise'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Demos, the left-leaning think- tank, has criticised companies for treating corporate social responsibility like a PR exercise.

Demos, the left-leaning think- tank, has criticised companies for treating corporate social responsibility like a PR exercise.

Over the past year many companies produced reports detailing their good works for the community and the environment. But some projects are based on image rather than genuine social concern.

"The reality of CSR is yet to catch up with the rhetoric," says a report from Demos, entitled "Getting down to business".

"Despite the progress that has been made, many companies continue to resist the CSR agenda or to respond to it in shallow and fragmented ways," it continues.

The report points out that the FTSE 100 companies give only 0.4 per cent of their pre-tax profits to charity and community projects.

"Another problem is that CSR is too often considered to be an adjunct of the marketing department, more of an exercise in public relations than a serious attempt to achieve social change," says the report, adding that CSR staff positions can often be given to employees wanting semi-retirement.

Tom Bentley, a director of Demos, said some companies put more money into promoting their good deeds than the deeds themselves: "What we are saying is that the company could and should have a greater and more positive impact if it focused efforts more intensively and linked [them] to core business expertise."

Comments