More and more treasurers are getting involved in CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. Not only financing them but also embedding them into treasury processes and spearheading departmental sustainability projects. Nevertheless, CSR is not yet considered ‘business as usual’ (BAU) in many corporate treasury functions. Eleanor Hill, Editor, outlines practical ways in which treasury departments can make CSR part of their DNA, and discovers some powerful incentives for doing so.
Once seen by some as a business obligation or marketing tool, CSR is now widely recognised as an opportunity to innovate, add value, improve risk management, and contribute to long-term growth – by looking after people, processes and the planet. The importance that C-level executives are placing on CSR reflects this evolving outlook.
Research from the Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) found that, compared to five years ago, nearly 75% more companies are now directing CSR from the C-suite . This sends a very clear message about the growing need for corporate organisations to think and act responsibly.
The rise of CSR: evolving drivers
One powerful driver of the C-suite’s focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the issuance of global standards and agreements in this space. As an HSBC representative explains: “Since the UN issued its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and the Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated in December 2015, many large corporations have started to make a stand on CSR. In addition, legal and regulatory initiatives, such as the UK Gender Gap reporting guidance, are contributing to a growing focus on being a responsible company.”