Gare Smith and I recently co-authored an article on corporate social responsibility ("CSR") and risk management for Executive Counsel magazine. In the article, "Making Corporate Social Responsibility Systemic," one issue we discuss is the potential risk to companies that "claim to have embraced CSR and then simply point to glossy reports reflecting anecdotal philanthropic initiatives to demonstrate the degree of their commitment." We believe that
such companies fail to develop the internal policies and mechanisms necessary to ensure that the correct people, in the right functional areas, are held accountable for following specific environmental and social standards. References to good deeds do not mitigate against the risks associated with lack of internal commitment and oversight.
We observe that a lack of executive-level oversight with regard to a company’s approach to CSR may leave companies with little capacity to develop strategic and comprehensive responses to stakeholder concerns about the social and environmental impacts of the company’s operations.
A copy of the full article is available here (.pdf).