A new survey by andBEYOND Communications shows that 50% more CEOs heeded this warning in 2004. The New York-based investor relations firm analyzed the letters to shareholders in annual reports published from 1999 to 2004 to see how CEOs described corporate social responsibilities to the larger world.
andBEYOND President L.J. Rittenhouse said, "This year-to-year increase was the most significant we’ve seen in our annual surveys of 100 of the S&P 500 companies. In 2004, 42% of CEOs reported on corporate social responsibilities up from 28% in 2003."
In addition, the researchers noted significant changes between CEO reporting in 2004 compared to 1999:
The number of CEOs who reported on their philanthropic, community and volunteer activities in 2004 increased 125%.
The number of CEOs who described their companies as corporate or global citizens increased 800%.
The number of CEOs who reported on how they are measuring their social responsibility actions increased 600%.
The number of times that CEOs mentioned specific social problems increased 300% and included issues such as health, human rights, hunger, the wealth gap and education.
Only six companies, Cisco, DuPont, Ford, Pfizer, Novartis, and Home Depot reported on their corporate social responsibilities in each of the past six years. In contrast, 25% of the survey companies consistently omitted such commentary over the same period.
The letters published in 2004 by CEOs at Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard, Bank of America, Citigroup and Cisco provided the strongest reporting on social responsibilities. Rittenhouse said, "People who expect CEOs to walk their talk by giving back to investors and to society in meaningful ways will be encouraged by these findings."