According to the newly released 2016 PwC Global CEO survey, 64% of CEOs say that “corporate social responsibility (CSR) is core to their business rather than being a stand-alone program”.
Why do CEOs care about CSR? Because they care about building trust with consumers, partners, governments, and their employees.
Li Huaizhen, President of China Minsheng Investment Corp., said it best:
Once you have done your bit – fulfilled your social responsibilities and formed a community with shared interests, with local people – they will welcome your projects and provide huge support. So a company’s own interest and the social value it provides are closely connected. In fact, this is also a kind of investment, and it always brings returns.
In short, social responsibility builds trust with employees and customers. This is becoming more and more important every year as trust in businesses is declining. According to the PWC Report:
“There is a body of research supporting the idea that, when there is a high level of trust in a company, it drives business performance by attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. A high level of trust also makes employees more committed to staying with the company, partners are more willing to collaborate and investors more prepared to entrust stewardship of their funding. Consequently, those organisations that can build trust seem to garner significant benefits“.
Regardless of industry, one common theme in the report is that a company’s employees are key to that business’s success, and increasing social responsibility while communicating your business’s higher level purpose is a key to attracting the best talent. This figure on talent strategy from the report helps show how CEO’s are thinking about improving their company to engage talent
Beyond talent engagement, there are at least 7 research backed reasons as to why companies should invest more in corporate social responsibility. In 2016, it’s interesting to see that the seemingly intangible factor of “trust” in business is something that the majority of global CEOs recognize as something that will impact their bottom line, and also recognize that CSR is a core business strategy to help increase it.