Read what Steven Rochlin, Head of Accountabilityin North America had to say in response to this key question: It is absolutely clear that CSR can generate top-line revenues for a company. It can inspire innovation. It can support new product development. It can open new markets and reignite moribund ones. It can acquire customers. It can recruit and retain employees. It can enhance brand and reputation. It can reduce costs. It can mitigate risks by protecting the so-called social license to operate. It can help raise share price. Or it can do none of these things. Or it can do the exact opposite. People approach CSR like the movie Field of Dreams. Build it and they will come. That doesnt work for CSR. In fact, it just about doesnt work for anything a business does. Very few experience the dream where you launch a product that sells itself. Any company whether B2B or B2C in any industry can generate ROI from CSR. But that company has to be smart and strategic. It has to identify what the most material social and environmental issues are. It needs to assess what kinds of investments will produce what kinds of returns.
Most companies dont do this. They see CSR as a type of PR. Its not. It is fundamental and core to the business. Or they see CSR as a do-gooder exercise of giving back. This drives me crazy. Dont give back. Understand what you are accountable for. Think strategically about how responding to your accountabilities can actually drive business success.