If you put your head above the parapet at any conference or in the media nowadays, it seems the only question being asked is whether CSR was just a fad. The expected answer is that all corporate social, environmental and ethical activity was just cynical PR – and in the midst of the recession will be abandoned in the name of short-term profit.
The question amazes me. For sure, when times are hard, budgets get stretched and priorities change. But why does it have to be all or nothing? As I explained to Richard Northedge at the Independent on Sunday this week (see the resulting article ‘Recession is excuse for companies to ignore community conscience’), the question isn’t good enough if we are to draw useful conclusions.