Wednesday, December 7

Corporate Social Responsibility

Even though in Australia companies are embracing ethical and fair corporate governance principles within their charters and seeking to confirm a culture of social responsibility I think the broader community remains highly sceptical. Part of the problem I believe is the lack of an understanding of ethical guiding principles amongst the “top management ranks “. I notice this aspect in many Annual Reports where mention is made of “upholding ethical standards “ without mentioning specifically as to how this is done. On the question of community social responsibility we also find statements of intent rather than of substance, vague notions that lead me to believe “flowery words “ are being used to pay lip service to this important aspect of Corporate reporting.

Maybe what’s also needed is training of Business executives on how to incorporate Corporate Social Responsibilities into their company’s culture. Changing culture takes a long time and is much had harder than most realise. From an educational viewpoint in most business courses, such as MBAs, the idea of ethics and social responsibility is not well covered. Maybe in some countries there are these optional subjects but on the whole those entering the work force haven’t got a particularly good grounding on ethics. Worse still many top executives are very poorly versed and I think that’s the reason for the community scepticism as they lack the clarity of thought to express clearly joint community initiatives. As far as the professional bodies are concerned they are doing a lot of worthwhile work in research and capturing the concerns of their professional members. Click here to view the latest survey by CPA Australia.


madcapmum said...

This was scrawled in tiny letters on the outside wall of the general foreman's on-site office at my husband's industrial jobsite:

Look concerned
Act surprised
Deny, deny, deny

Corporation ethics.

bohemiantroubadour said...

Human Nature has been constant since the first Histories.

Scott said...

Greetings, I found you thru Dimitri from Amsterdam, and have been taking a peek into your beautiful world down under. A friend of mine gave me a book this week that you may be interested in, it is called Culture Creatives, by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson. It says alot about the social responsibility of corporations. and the rise of a 'new' group of humans called the culture creatives.
I will return and drink more from this cup you are offering,,, thanks!!

DA said...

Hi Lindsay (Hi Scott:-),

Although we didn't spend too much time on CSR during my MBA (UK)classes, I see such courses and masterclasses emerge very rapidly in Western Europe. Also, jobs such as Compliance Officer and Chief CSR seen more often. Shareholders ask specific paragraphs in the annual report (for listed companies). If you ask me: there is hope and I am confident that CSR will be more and more part of daily business.

Greetz from a cold Amsterdam,

DA said...

Can tell you (just finished the text of our annual report) that our company and many in the Netherlands will have specific statements on CSR. As this will be placed in the financial part of the report, the Accountant has to approve of the content as well.

This must give some hope..not??

Happy winter Solstice (2005)