Over the last few years, “authenticity” has been the word that has resonated most within the corporate responsibility world. While it’s still fundamentally important for corporations to ensure that stakeholders perceive their actions as genuine, “integrity” has emerged as a defining characteristic of corporate responsibility that is re-shaping the language we use in this area.
The idea of “return on integrity” is at the heart of new thinking about corporate responsibility. Here’s a working definition: “The extent to which a corporation’s performance as a business is influenced and measured by how it addresses the social priorities of its employees and external stakeholders and the degree to which its actions are consistently responsible in all areas.”
Putting priority on return on integrity means that corporations also accept the need to measure it alongside conventional ROI. This means utilizing new systems and tools that are able to benchmark, measure, and assessoutcomes that are largely qualitative (e.g. the value of aligning with a social issue or partnering with a community organization).
Today, return on investment + return on integrity = better performance.