Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow letter to the Times on the value of CSR

A letter from Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow in response to Ian King's Times piece 'CSR is dead, so what happens now?' (£):

Dear Sir, 

“Ian King and Lord Browne make some interesting points about corporate social responsibility (CSR is dead, so what happens now?, Business, 14 September), but I dispute strongly their main assertion that it is dead. On the contrary, too many people are deadened to the reality. CSR is the beating heart of our society – and we should all take pride in this longstanding role, and responsibility, of the business sector. Young professionals are more socially aware than any generation before them, and today’s companies, large and small, are finding innovative ways to support their communities – as celebrated in the annual Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards. From social enterprises which give practical skills and training to homeless people, to business mentors for students from tough backgrounds. Because, as Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, has said; “Business cannot succeed in societies that fail.”

But there’s a problem – companies aren’t great at telling the public about what they’re doing and how it is making an impact. In fact, 80% of employees don’t even know about their employer’s CSR work. This is a shame – fuelling inaccurate opinion and commentary. But this is also an opportunity – there is a huge resource of socially-conscious business people, who can get on board.

“That’s why I am leading a Square Mile wide initiative later this month – City Giving Day. Showcasing the efforts of around 200 firms and the beneficiaries they support. If companies fail to communicate their CSR work, and we fail to acknowledge it, that does not mean it’s dead. However, it does mean that one of the most energetic and exciting aspects of our City is being woefully misrepresented.”

Alan Yarrow

Lord Mayor of the City of London

The Mansion House