FRIDAY 11 DEC 2009 2:22 PM


But credit crunch could be catalyst for change.

European companies are “crying out” for regulatory consistency in corporate social responsibility, according to a new report, which argues that the current economic climate may actually prove to be the best environment to help the sustainability agenda.

The findings are to be found in Directions, an annual study by corporate communications agency Salterbaxter which maps trends in corporate responsibility and communications.

The report claims that trust and confidence in business “are still a struggle”. It claims that companies and governments are going at different speeds; some companies are making impressive headway but the regulatory framework isn’t there to shape the future.

“For some years corporate responsibility was about companies getting their own house in order managing their direct impacts and communicating around this,” says the report. “But the field has been maturing and leading companies have been investigating and tackling impacts of their businesses that are beyond their direct control. Looking up their value chains - at suppliers and the provenance and impact of materials – and downstream towards consumers and product use and disposal.

One chapter focuses on stakeholder dialogue. It concludes that stakeholders are more important than ever, but there are more ways to engage with them than ever before.

The report also contains articles on CSR and how it is communicated, written by the WWF’s head of energy and climate change policy, Jason Anderson; E.ON UK’s director of brand and communications, Jeremy Davies.