The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

To sign-up to receive the CSR Newsletters regularly during the fall and spring academic semesters, e-mail author David Chandler at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Strategic CSR - CSR in a recession

The article in the url below asks the question: Why do firms continue to invest in CSR when many expected such policies to diminish in an economic downturn?

"That easy prediction has turned out to be wrong. Mars, the world's biggest confectionery company, has announced that its entire cocoa supply will be "produced in a sustainable manner" by 2020."

The author also cites the examples of Cadbury, the maker of the UK's most popular chocolate bar that recently made a similar commitment to Mars, and Wal-Mart:

"… the world's biggest retailer, which told a meeting of 1,000 Chinese suppliers last year that it would hold them to strict environmental and social standards, the downturn notwithstanding."

The author then proceeds to outline the strong business reasons behind these decisions by the three firms. He argues that, contrary to skeptical opinion, in the current economic climate, CSR is essential for firms seeking to please customers, guarantee supplies of high quality raw ingredients, and also lower costs:

"… when, in 2007, M & S laid out its "Plan A" on sustainable sourcing and fair trading, it expected the changes to cost the company £200m ($290m, €225m) over five years. But because, like Wal-Mart, M & S is saving money through its initiatives, it is finding its changes are cost-neutral."

Have a good weekend

Bill Werther & David Chandler
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility
© Sage Publications, 2006

Why corporate responsibility is a survivor
By Michael Skapinker
829 words
21 April 2009
Asia Ed1