The Top 10 Trends in CSR for 2012

Jan 25, 2012 10:00 AM ET

From the Forbes Leadership Forum

This article is by Tim Mohin, director of corporate responsibility for Advanced Micro Devices and author of the forthcoming book Changing Business From the Inside Out: The Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations.

Here are the biggest developments to watch for this year in the ever growing and changing world of corporate social responsibility.   1. Going Global: The relentless march toward globalization will continue to stretch the scope of corporate responsibility. For instance, the new conflict minerals requirement in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act breaks new ground for the scope of corporate responsibility, by requiring many types of businesses to track four minerals back to their sources to ensure they don’t fuel conflict in the minefields of Central Africa. As this and similar requirements arise, the trend is clear: Corporate social responsibility leaders will be increasingly accountable for responsible behavior all along their supply chains.   2. The Triumph (or Tyranny) of Transparency: The pressure for ever increasing levels of transparency and disclosure will build in 2012. Last year, according to, more than 5,500 companies around the world issued sustainability reports, up from about 800 a decade ago. Also, the “Rate the Raters” report from found that more than 100 sets of ratings measure which companies are the most responsible. All the big four accounting firms are expanding their practices to audit all of these disclosures and are also sponsoring the expanded fourth edition of the Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines, which outline standard CSR disclosures. In 2012 a promising new initiative, the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings, will endeavor to standardize the ratings framework, but beyond that there is little relief in sight for the survey-fatigued CSR manager.   3. Employee Engagement Emerges: The connection between CSR and engaged employees continues to grow. A Hewitt & Associates studylooked at 230 workplaces with more than 100,000 employees and found that the more a company actively pursues worthy environmental and social efforts, the more engaged its employees are. The Society for Human Resources Management compared companies that have strong sustainability programs with companies that have poor ones and found that in the former morale was  55% better, business process were 43% more efficient, public image was 43% stronger, and employee loyalty was 38% better. Add to all that the fact that companies with highly engaged employees have three times the operating margin (Towers and Watson) and four times the earnings per share (Gallup) of companies with low engagement, and you’ve got  a compelling business case for this trend to continue into 2012 and beyond.   Click here to continue reading "The Top 10 Trends in CSR for 2012" on   AMD20390