SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Sustainability — tracks feedback from more than 17,000 CSR leaders. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter. This week’s analysis is provided by Juan Villamayor, a corporate social responsibility consultant and business sustainability expert from Barcelona, Spain.
Last week, we asked: What is the most important benefit of implementing a strategy of sustainability and corporate social responsibility?
- Customer loyalty and a good company reputation, 27.59%
- Cost reduction (energy costs, resources optimization), 20.69%
- New, sustainable business opportunities, 15.52%
- Better risk management (environmental risks, etc), 13.79%
- A better image, 12.07%
- More profit in the long run, 10.34%
- More backing from investors, 0%
This was almost like the typical question: Who do you love more, your mother or your father? It’s hard to decide which one is the most important benefit from implementing a corporate sustainability strategy.
However, I was very surprised to see that backing from investors came in last given the current trend that indicates investors do give credence to CSR programs. I was also surprised to see that the creation of more profit in the long run and a better image for the company — aka greenwash — came in near the bottom. But then I saw that all the other benefits such as a strong reputation, cost reduction, risk management and new business opportunities do contribute to generating more profit in the long run.
Many companies are still unaware that changing the way they do business will make them more competitive, enhance their creativity and open doors to new areas. After all, CSR is a management strategy with many faces where opportunities, risk management, engagement and philanthropy come together to make a stronger, more sustainable company.