Will the Financial Crisis Kill Corporate Social Responsibility?

  • Will the Downturn Kills Corporate Social Responsibility?The Find: Musings on the effects of the current downturn -- today it looks more like a plunge -- on the uptake of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
  • The Source: A post by Adam Jones on the FT Management blog.
The Takeaway: Lehman Brothers may be no more but as Adam Jones points out on the FT Management blog, that's not stopping Goldman Sachs from going ahead with its "10,000 Women" scheme to train women in the developing world. But how many more of these well-intentioned efforts at corporate do-gooding will we see if the economic climate continues to be stormy?

Howard Davies, the director of the London School of Economics, for one, feels we're likely to see fewer CSR initiatives:

Desirable initiatives to promote diversity and extend working lives, which have been easy to promote when the labor market was tight, will be a much tougher proposition from now on. There is a business case for diversity, the government tells us. That may well be true in the longer run, but the costs tend to come first.
Jones agrees that there are likely many "Milton Friedman-reading managers " now itching to use the downturn as an excuse to cut programs they were never fully sold on to start with. "But that would be a pretty dumb move at a time when the public mood is for more accountability and regulation, not less," Jones concludes.

The Question: Do you agree: is it a good idea to sustain or start CSR initiatives in a troubled business climate?

(Image of diversity by Lumaxart, CC 2.0)