Leading companies understand why being a good corporate citizen leads to economic success

The “business case” for corporate responsibility was given new resonance this summer by the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the events that followed. For the media companies involved, “corporate responsibility” had been reduced to an optional extra that could be abandoned when management creates a culture of sales targets (circulation and advertising) and profitability improvements at all costs.

In the end, that narrow perspective cost people’s jobs and reputations, a great deal of money and, ultimately, the business itself. That’s a high price to pay for ignorance.

In contrast, there is a growing number of companies whose leaders see that corporate responsibility is about how companies behave in their core operations: how they go about their business and how they make their money.

For such companies – particularly those whose performance has been recognised through Business in the Community’s Awards for Excellence and its Corporate Responsibility Index – responsible business behaviour is embedded in the DNA of the business. It’s part of the organisation’s culture and strategy, manifesting itself in what gets said and done by everyone from boardroom executives to those working at the front lines of the most remote business units. Corporate responsibility is a coherent part...

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