The following post is part of a CSRHub series focusing on 10 trends that are driving corporate transparency and disclosure in the coming year. To follow the discussion of each trend, watch for posts on the CSRHub blog every Wednesday.
By Bahar Gidwani
Companies are used to competing on price, quality and service. Thanks to pressure from a wide range of corporate stakeholders, they now have to compete also on their sustainability. A sustainability program used to be something that was “nice to have” and “fun.” These programs are now becoming vital parts of overall corporate strategy.
What percentage of the world’s large companies would you expect to have special corporate social responsibility areas on their websites? The following chart shows that 75 percent of the 5,000 companies we rate on CSRHub already have these areas.
Note that the majority of companies in “less developed” areas, have these web areas. Because so many companies have these programs, stakeholder groups like company employees, customers and suppliers now expect to see them. Arxiv Culturomics shows mentions of “sustainability” and CSR have been rising steadily over the past 17 years.
With more interest and more data, the stage is set. If a company wants its social performance to be favorably perceived, it must now do more, be better and achieve more to compete with its peers. We hope to see a “domino effect” where one company’s performance pushes its peers to accelerate their efforts to become more sustainable.
Bahar Gidwani is a Cofounder and CEO of CSRHub. Formerly, he was the CEO of New York-based Index Stock Imagery, Inc, from 1991 through its sale in 2006. He has built and run large technology-based businesses and has experience building a multi-million visitor Web site. Bahar holds a CFA, was a partner at Kidder, Peabody & Co., and worked at McKinsey & Co. Bahar has consulted to both large companies such as Citibank, GE, and Acxiom and a number of smaller software and web-based companies. He has an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BS in Astronomy and Physics (magna cum laude) from Amherst College. Bahar races sailboats, plays competitive bridge, and is based in New York City.