Corporate social responsibility (CSR) often falls to Boards, and can sometimes get overlooked, particularly during a crisis. Yet businesses will be remembered for their responses and behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic for years to come. Large global conglomorates have had CSR departments for years, responding to a growing desire from consumers that their brands do more than simply supply their product at a market-appropriate price, but in many businesses, it is down to the leadership to ensure that good corporate citizenship is considered. Research indicates a growing trend for consumers shifting loyalty to other brands which are perceived to be good corporate citizens, even if their product costs more. This shift in emphasis is usually attributed to the rise of millennials as a dominant consumer group, who are considered to be the most engaged with ideas of ethical, moral and sustainable responsibility.
Research into this area suggests that it is not simply a question of making sure the business does its recycling. Millennial consumers are often described as ‘incredibly cynical’ – that is hyper-engaged and able to recognise authentic acts of responsibility, from those that are little more than window dressing. Authenticity is key – organisations should be able to demonstrate clear, direct actions where they have placed social benefits ahead of profitability. Businesses can no longer solely exist to return profits to their shareholders – they must instead strive to add value for all stakeholders – shareholders, yes, but also employees, communities, and the world at large.
Norman Broadbent plc (LON:NBB) is a leading Professional Services firm offering five interrelated Talent Acquisition & Advisory Services: Board & Leadership/Executive Search, Senior Interim Management, Research & Insight, Leadership Consulting & Assessment, and executive level Recruitment solutions.