Looking back at a company, a person or a civilization’s past is always a moment full of emotion and satisfaction: you see the efforts done and rewards received, the progress and the achievements. But equally important is to look at your future trying to answer to the fateful: "what's next?". And in case the CSR is the subject of all these glances, it will see that after had born quietly, has gone from nice-to-have to must-have, now it’s ready to drive companies also ahead other important issues. On LinkedIn – since a couple of days - Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO at McPhersonStrategies (a consulting company on social issues and sustainability), is exactly trying to do the same, drawing up in a recent post future paths for CSR in six trends to watch at in 2017 involving the opinions of directors of major companies.
First of all, the commitment to sustainability will remain a priority. There are Tim Mohin, chief executive at GRI and Trisa Thompson, chief responsibility officer at Dell to send this signal: nowadays companies, in addition to the annual budget, want to communicate their commitment to social and environmental impact of their performance. It’s an integral part both of corporate reputation and business.
Second point: companies have become problem-solvers, able to outperform governments when difficulties prevent them from proceeding due to lenders and their international relations. Consequent to this is the transformation of CSR experts to more and more prepared leaders, ready to use their expertise to bring the company into new markets. There are Nicolette van Exel, CSR head of Intuit, Alice Korngold, writer and consultant, and Delilah Wilson-Scott, chairman of the Comcast Foundation confirming this trend.
Fourth, not just corporate social responsibility, but social impact. If at first you didn’t know well how to describe this strange matter, and which terms to use, now it will go directly to talk about 'impact', as stated by Liba Rubisten, SVP of 21st Century Fox. A change that doesn’t look at a more general responsibility measured by negative effects, but rather a measurable positive impact on human, social, environmental and financial.
One more added: the fast transition to embrace the circular economy model because is an obligation to eliminate waste in a society still rising. Prime example is Sweden ready to offer tax breaks to all those people who instead of throwing away (we already talked about here) prefer to repair. Among the companies, is H&M to serve as ambassadors by Anna Gedda, H&M head of sustainability, intensifying the transition to a more sustainable and accessible fashion.
Sixth and last, but not least: according to many researches consumers and employees prefer to buy and work for companies that invest in social and environmental responsibility. And have a strong storytelling, a company history and product to tell, is an element that influences the purchase, making tip the scales while defining the company's identity itself.
Thus, McPherson concludes that forecast for this in 2017 – maybe not stable in terms of new political assets – in terms of CSR is as follows: clear objectives on the horizon, more and more leadership roles, always raising the bar in the fact of global standards and improve consumer behavior. Everything clear?