Corporate Responsibility can be Profitable
While conventional wisdom might suggest that these initiatives will drain the corporate coffers, only a quarter of survey respondents agreed that profits needed to be sacrificed, while three quarters believed corporate responsibility could enhance profitability. As a result, 77 percent said they expected corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies over the next several years.
“Corporate responsibility programs have moved out of the realm of public relations to become real tools for improving the bottom line,” said Jim Maurer, Grant Thornton’s national managing partner of the consumer and industrial products practice. “Companies are realizing that strong investment in corporate responsibility programs is both a civic obligation and a successful business strategy.”
In fact, despite the Grant Thornton Business Optimism Index (a semi-annual measure of confidence among U.S. business leaders) reaching an all-time low at the beginning of the summer, executives say their companies will increase investment in corporate responsibility: 77 percent anticipate more spending on environmental programs, 50 percent expect greater allocation to social responsibility programs and 45 percent say economic/governance initiatives will see more funding. Respondents felt that tax incentives, customer support, and innovative technologies were most likely to prompt companies to invest more heavily in environmental initiatives.
“Today, corporate responsibility programs are a large part of what customers demand,” said Maurer. “What’s more, if implemented correctly, they can also serve as a highly effective means of recruiting and retaining talent.”
Other findings in the survey include:
About the Corporate Responsibility Survey
BusinessWeek Research Services conducted a detailed study of corporate responsibility in partnership with Grant Thornton. More than 500 online surveys were conducted with business executives from June 21-29, 2007. The survey included in-depth interviews with ten executives involved in the development and implementation of corporate responsibility programs.
About Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, one of the six global accounting, tax and business advisory organizations. Through member firms in more than 110 countries, including 50 offices in the United States, the partners and employees of Grant Thornton member firms provide personalized attention and the highest quality service to public and private clients around the globe. Visit Grant Thornton LLP at www.GrantThornton.com.
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