Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CSR and the financial crisis: so things can only get better?

We are trying (without too much success) to avoid getting too obsessed about the current financial crisis. But it is kind of hard to ignore, especially as it clearly has a lot of significant implications for issues of business ethics and CSR. Anyway, we thought we'd make just a few quick remarks about our last poll which saw more than 60% of our respondents siding with the idea that the crisis should lead to more CSR - and only 14% believing it would lead to less.

It's an interesting, and optimistic result, which, to be honest, we were a little surprised about. Clearly many of our readers are seeing this as a watershed moment that may create a whole lot more momentum towards responsible business practices. It is difficult to predict, but at the moment, most of the discussion seems to be more about how to better regulate business (and markets) rather than how to encourage responsibility (the assumption apparently being that business, and the finance industry in particular, is led by greedy, self-interested fat cats with little concern for the public good).

Some of the soundings we are getting at the moment are not too promising, it has to be said. There are a lot of people talking about the need to "tighten our belts" in readiness for an upcoming recession. Plus, it should be remembered that the recent drive towards CSR is also a part of the movement towards deregulation and liberalisation in markets that has got us where we are now. So its good to see that the CSR movement (or at least the part of it that reads our blog) remains optimistic about reform. Only time will tell...

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