When 45 corporate social responsibility (CSR) thought leaders from around the world were asked how they think CSR will evolve in the future, the majority agreed that 5 – 10 years from now it will be increasingly integrated into business practices, if it not in the public consciousness. CSR management systems will be more standardized and routine within 10 years. Codes and standards will be established by then. CSR concepts will be easier to adopt.
Opinion leaders agree that the increasing importance and influence of stakeholders will be a top trend. Companies will move from identifying and managing stakeholders to collaborating with them. Some thought leaders see companies including stakeholders on design teams to design products with enhanced environmental and social properties.
Highlights of the survey include:
* people that make purchasing decisions based on their values will remain a small (5-10% of the population) but slightly more powerful group. "This vigilante consumer will be high income with increasing influence in the marketplace."
* NGOs will be increasingly sophisticated, well-organized and work together on common campaigns. There will be more watch dog groups around the world.
* increasing numbers of employees will be concerned about employer values. Companies with a good CSR track record will have access to the best and brightest, while those with poor track records will have increasing difficulty attracting and keeping talented staff.
* shareholder action campaigns will be an increasingly effective and common tool to drive corporations toward CSR. Negative screening (screening out companies with poor practices) will wane as a major social investment tool. Institutional investors will take a longer term view toward performance and take a stewardship approach to their investments.
* large companies will drive CSR through their supply chain, thereby putting CSR on the radar screen of small business.
* the key CSR issues on the environment side will be climate change, water quality and supply/access to water. On the social side, poverty and access to necessities, governance, accountability, transparency and integrity – will be top issues.
The study, The Future of Corporate Responsibility, was commissioned by Van City Credit Union.