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State of CSR In Australia - Annual ACCSR Review

19 February 2010 at 2:59 pm
Staff Reporter
Australian businesses are tying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies to overall business strategies as a result of the GFC, according to an ACCSR annual review.

Staff Reporter | 19 February 2010 at 2:59 pm


State of CSR In Australia - Annual ACCSR Review
19 February 2010 at 2:59 pm

Many Australian businesses have tied their CSR strategies more closely to their overall business strategy as a result of the Global Financial Crisis according to the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility’s (ACCSR’s) State of CSR in Australia: 2009 Annual Review.

The report was launched at ACCSR’ s fourth annual conference in Melbourne on Friday 19th February.

The report says the GFC was one of the main insights from ACCSR’s annual review, which surveyed over 300 managers about CSR management capabilities, issues and the effects of the downturn on their organisations.

In other results, 14% said they had a reduction in dedicated CSR staff and 19% had a reduction in their budget for CSR.

But 29% said the GFC made their organisations more interested in CSR.

As well, 49% say it gave them the opportunity to debate CSR and 40% said that CSR, sustainability and business strategies now have stronger links.

The report says reducing environmental impact and increasing understanding of CSR within their organisations will remain the highest priority issues for CSR managers in 2010. However, understanding climate change has declined in priority since last year, dropping seven percentage points in “very high priority” rating from 34 to 27 per cent.

Releasing the report at the annual conference, ACCSR Managing Director, Dr Leeora Black, said understanding climate change may have declined in importance as managers have achieved the insights they needed to be able to meet new reporting requirements under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

The biggest increase in “very high priority” rating was “improving our sustainability reporting” which rose from 17 to 24 percent.

The State of CSR in Australia Annual Review also obtains self-ratings on a range of CSR management capabilities that have been proven to contribute to business performance.

The CSR capabilities are rated by multi-item measures and include stakeholder engagement, stakeholder values integration, ethical business behaviour, stakeholder dialogue and social accountability.

Dr Leeora Black said the management capabilities show key aspects of the culture and processes for CSR and are a leading indicator of performance.

Twenty-eight organisations were named as “Top Scorers” in five categories of Australian listed companies, foreign listed companies, government business enterprises, non-government organisations, and industry associations. (Those with an asterisk also appeared in the 2008 Top Scorers list.) 

Top Australian listed companies


Top foreign listed companies

Top government business enterprises

Top NGOs

Top Industry Associations

AXA Australia


Coca Cola Amatil


Lihir Gold Limited*




Rio Tinto*


Sensis (wholly owned subsidiary of Telstra)


Westpac Banking




Baxter Healthcare


BP Australia


Fuji Xerox Australia*


Nestle Australia





Australia Post


Horizon Power (WA)


Hydro Tasmania


Landcom (NSW)


State Trustees (Vic)


South Australian Water Corporation


WorkSafe (Vic)*

Arts Project



Credit Union Foundation of Australia*


Lifeline Australia


Marie Stopes

International Australia


St Mary’s House of Welcome




Institute of Chartered Accountants

ACCSR says as the survey is voluntary, no inference can be made about the absence of an organisation from the Top Scorers list.

Dr Black said the most striking aspect of the 2009 results was that companies of all types reported lower levels of CSR management capabilities, while government departments, government business enterprises, NGOs reported higher levels.

She said the decline in CSR management capabilities in companies may be the result of staff turnover, restructuring or changes in strategy that occurred as a result of the GFC.

So even though the GFC may lead to stronger links between CSR and business strategy, she said companies will need to focus in 2010 in re-establishing the internal capabilities to drive success in CSR strategy.

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