Does a company's CSR strategy influence investment decisions by outsiders? - SmartBrief

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Does a company’s CSR strategy influence investment decisions by outsiders?

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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Sustainability — tracks feedback from more than 17,000 CSR leaders. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter. This week’s analysis is provided by Juan Villamayor, a corporate social responsibility consultant and business sustainability expert from Barcelona, Spain.

Last week, we asked: Does a company’s social responsibility strategy influence investment decisions by outside investors?

  • Yes, along with other relevant factors such as market situation, viability, expected return, etc. — 32.5%
  • No, only other factors, such as market forecast or expected return, are taken into account. — 25%
  • It only comes second, after other more important factors, such as those mentioned above. — 22.5%
  • No, most investors are only looking for short-term profit. — 12.5%
  • Yes, and, since CSR guarantees stability and long-term profit, it will become the most important factor. — 7.5%

Investors in BP probably would have thought twice had they known that BP’s sustainability was actually not as good as it looked. That is what the poll results show: Almost 66% think that corporate social responsibility, at various degrees, plays a role when deciding to invest in a company. Some may consider that CSR is a good sign of how sustainable the company will be in the future; others think that a proper CSR strategy helps avoid and manage social or environmental risks.

This is actually a good sign — it might even indicate the rise of a culture based on sustainable business and strategic thinking that’s far from short-term and speculative operations.