Sceptics said corporate responsibility budgets would be slashed during the recession but the experience of leading companies is not as simple

Recessions are never nice. Jobs go, budgets are cut and business opportunities appear to shrink. Global recessions are even worse. The latest downturn has cost billions in lost revenue and millions in lost jobs.

Could the worst be over? There are grounds for hope. Business confidence hit its highest point for two years in August, according to the UK’s Institute of Chartered Accountants. The news follows predictions by the US Federal Reserve that the effects of the credit crunch have begun to “level off”.

As the so-called green shoots show signs of sprouting...

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