According to a global study of nearly 30 000 respondents by Accenture Strategy, 62 percent of consumers said they would pay more – or even accept a product of lower quality – should the brand represent ethical values and demonstrate authenticity in all its actions. Speaking after the launch of a nationwide grassroots tennis development initiative in Soweto, Regan Adams, CEO of innovative consumer finance business RCS – a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, said that organisations can no longer afford to view corporate social investment (CSI) as a nice to have – but rather a business imperative.
Adams said that only sustainable companies – underpinned by responsible business practices – will be in a position to use CSI to gain a competitive advantage in the future. He mentioned that companies are under increasing scrutiny from both the public and consumers to demonstrate a shared value approach – that is identifying and addressing various social problems that intersect with their business – and create a win-win scenario for all stakeholders. “Corporate social investment can’t begin and end with a company announcing their involvement in a community project and writing out a cheque. Authenticity is important, and half-hearted initiatives that don’t have the support of the corporate mission will do more harm than good. Without a sense of purpose, no company can achieve its full potential,” Adams said.
Adams further stated that heightened social awareness is also evident when potential recruits assess their employment options.
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