MOST company executives in the Asia Pacific believe sustainable business practices are driving revenue and that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an increasingly important part of their business strategy, says a new report.
The Responsible Business Trends 2017 Report, published by Ethical Corporation, is the latest annual analysis of issues and patterns in sustainability in global business.
This year’s report shows 86 percent of respondents Asia-Pacific corporations said sustainability was becoming an increasingly important part of their business strategy.
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Thirty-nine percent of respondents – a decrease of one percent from last year – stated their sustainability budgets would increase in 2017.
More than half (56 percent) of companies report sustainability and CSR issues to their board – a higher proportion than in North America and Europe. This shows top management in Asia’s private sector is increasingly mainstreaming CSR into their business strategy.
The Trump effect
The Ethical Corporation’s survey was conducted within weeks of Donald Trump winning the presidency of the United States.
Some respondents had concerns about Trump in the White House, including “climate change will be pushed down the agenda for many businesses” and that there would be “increased uncertainty across the globe.”
But there was some optimism, with one respondent noting it “offers companies across our country and surrounding to take up a leadership role around sustainability.”
Recently the American Sustainable Business Council wrote to Trump to voice its opposition to the so-called “Muslim ban”, launching an open letter rejecting the policy, which it said “demeans our American principles and values.”
“We believe the climate of fear and uncertainty it fosters in our customers, our employees and our communities will be damaging to business. The proposed ban undermines the interconnections and workforce mobility upon which we depend,” it said.
Numerous CEOs condemned the move, including Starbucks chief Howard Schultz who committed to employing 10,000 people from refugee backgrounds.