CSR is a Strategic Asset

Posted by: AmberRoberts in: Financial Services -

I attended an FWA event recently where the panel discussion was on corporate social responsibility and microfinance. What was interesting was that the all-female panel represented Citi, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and AMEX.  Financial companies we hear a lot about these days for reasons other than their philanthropic efforts. A couple of points particularly caught me:

• CSR can be a grassroots reputation management tool:  According to some of these panelists, the relationships their companies have built with communities thru CSR have provided them with credible third party validation in not-so-good times. In other words, while everyone is bashing Citi, the bank has real relationships and proponents around the globe — those less fortunate individuals whom they have empowered economically.  This has helped their reputation during a time of corporate turmoil.

• CSR isn’t being cut:  In a time when cutbacks are very popular – be it employee programs and benefits, employees themselves, consultants and other “extras” – CSR programs aren’t taking a hit, at least at these big financial entities, because their value is seen all the way at the top. CSR has become a “strategic asset”.

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