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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Corporate Home Pages Promote the CR Message

I did an informal review this afternoon to try and gauge the extent to which companies are externally positioning sustainability and corporate responsibility as issues at a corporate level.

I just tackled just the first 40 or so of a list of 400 companies. Not very scientific I know, but enlightening nevertheless.

Every company had a link to their corporate responsibility site, but more importantly and to my surprise, exactly half the companies had sustainability issues highlighted front and center with large font text in prominent boxes. The language used was atypical of the corporate home page - environmental values stuff. And there was very little was about straight philanthropy, rather the focus was on core issues of company interaction with society and environment.

Here are some examples (excuse the lack of links but I am timing out);

Ahold - Acting in a responsible manner for the benefit of the planet
Air Liquide - Planet Hydrogen - Our planet abounds in energies. But by depleting its natural resources, we are asphyxiating it.
Akzo Nobel - Emergency on Planet Earth - A new magazine published
Allianz - The Good Entrepreneur - Green Ideas and economic success are not mutually exclusive.
Amadeus - Joined "Massive Good" - global health initiative
Arcelor Mittal - Taking responsibility for transforming tomorrow
Arla Foods - Closer to Nature - we are at one with nature and have a responsibility to look after it as best we can
AstellasPharma - Changing tomorrow - leading light for life

These are not the consumer product and marketing pages. These are the corporate home pages where shareholders go to look up the company report and accounts and a description of locations.

Call me a naïve optimist, but I think this is a good sign. I know there can be a big gap between words on a web site and core actions at board level, but there is also a big gap between having some CSR people in the company and making the issue front and centre in company communications. I think we have bridged that gap in many companies.

The corporate pages are for investors and these communications help set the foundations for companies to act positively in the sustainability space and bring their shareholders along with them. An optimistic ending to my day today.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this post, Kevin. It's interesting to see how the corporate website has evolved with regard to the positioning of CSR content. The earliest comprehensive study I know of is from 1998; since then, several other "formal" studies have looked at form, tactics, best practices and content. The common thread is that corporate sites are generally behind the curve in terms of incorporating tech features, but the percentage of companies reporting on CSR is on the rise.