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Don't Let the Crisis Kill Corporate Social Responsibility

The report cards aren't quite in yet, but it's clear companies have cut back on philanthropy efforts. And that's not a bad thing -- as long as the cuts are done intelligently and with a view to long-term success.

That's the word from one of the academic pioneers in the corporate social responsibility world, Harvard Business School professor V. Kasturi "Kash" Rangan.

He tells HBS Working Knowledge that the key is for companies to use the crisis to take stock and cut ineffective programs while consolidating those that are synergistic to their business.

But above all, he adds, CSR should not be treated as one-off or otherwise unique programs, but rather as a business discipline practiced with the same professionalism and rigor as other aspects of a firm's strategy.

"For example, many of the programs that come under the umbrella of 'climate change' have the potential to benefit the environment as well as a company's bottom line," Rangan says.
Has your company's CSR program been altered by the current environment? Are they being protected?