Column: the hot air of CSR

Thank goodness, now the recession’s here we can forget all that nonsense about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and get back to trying to make some money.

Admit it, the thought had occurred to you. There may have been much talk of (newly rediscovered) responsibility in Davos last week. But for most managers the biggest responsibility of all will always be to make a profit and stay in business.

The good news is that serious CSR types understand this. I went to a lunchtime meeting at the House of Lords last week where this became clear. This was no crowd of burbling do-gooders. One executive declared: “I can’t stand writing CSR reports. I hate it. It’s so boring.” Another – in fact our co-host, Michael Littlechild, the head of the advisory business Good Corporation – conceded that, for many business people, CSR was just a case of BDF: “babies, dolphins and forests”.

The remainder of the article can be read here. Please post comments below.



About the authors

Stefan Stern writes a column on Tuesdays on management. He is winner of the 2010 Towers Watson award for excellence in HR journalism, and has previously won awards from the Work Foundation and the Management Consultancies Association.

Ravi Mattu is the editor of Business Life, the FT's management features section, and a former editor of the Mastering Management series. He joined the FT in 2000 from Prospect magazine

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