I read your cover feature ’The New CSR: This Time It’s Profitable’ (MW 14 April) by Michael Barnett with great interest. It’s not just that CSR is coming of age there is also a sea change in the way that consumers engage with brands that is driving this ’new CSR’. Being ’good’ is the new competitive advantage for many companies: consumers expect brands to play a broader role in their lives and society in general.
Brands will quickly realise, as Puma’s chief executive Jochen Zeitz has, that while it is a long-term investment, there is real money to be made in structuring your business around ethical principles.
Equally, companies will find that by becoming commercial entities that are mindful of their impact on society, and by enabling their employees to contribute to the betterment of society, they will attract the best talent.
Future generations will demand more of their employers and, increasingly, consumers will be drawn towards the brands that give back to society. Brands that recognise this will reap the rewards; those that don’t will find themselves marginalised and will ultimately become obsolete.