A recent interview with the boss of Molson Coors, the fifth largest beer brewer in the world, shows how, despite fears of economic pressure, corporate responsibility should stand the test of any recession

In this recent podcast, Peter Swinburn, the recently installed CEO of one of the world's biggest brewers, talks about how any economic downturn should not affect responsible business investment by large companies.

It's worth a listen because he makes the point that while companies such as his are under market pressure, corporate social responsibility is all about the medium term, at least, and delivers trust for companies in tough times.

Swinburn also makes some good points about how the function should be structured and how he communicates the urgency of responsible business across the company.

Essentially, Molson Coors keeps the department small, asks unit managers to be accountable for CSR issues, and focuses on "getting uncomfortable" on ethics issues.

This is a useful way to look at change management. Swinburn told me in the interview that CSR can breed complacency in companies by making them feel good about what they are doing.

His belief is that the point of engagement in responsible business by companies is to shake them out of any notions of this, and get senior management and line managers thinking about new ways of working.

These can, of course, often deliver cost savings. All the more important in these current fraught times.

The podcast is worth eight minutes of anyone's time who works in business or who is interested in CSR and leadership.

We'll be publishing a print version too, in our November 2008 print edition of Ethical Corporation magazine. Check out subscription offers by clicking Here.

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