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Australia’s CSR Top 10

18 June 2014 at 10:30 am
Lina Caneva
Australia’s top 10 business leaders in the Corporate Social Responsibility field have been revealed amid warnings that CSR practice in Australia is lagging.

Lina Caneva | 18 June 2014 at 10:30 am


Australia’s CSR Top 10
18 June 2014 at 10:30 am

Australia’s top 10 business leaders in the Corporate Social Responsibility field have been revealed amid warnings that CSR practice in Australia is lagging.

The top 10 includes broadcaster ABC, professional services firms ARUP, GHD and PwC, miners Newmont Mining Corporation and Rio Tinto, The University of Queensland, Melbourne Water, National Australia Bank and Main Roads Western Australia.

The list, compiled based on analysis by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR), was part of the organisation’s State of CSR in Australia and New Zealand Annual Review, which revealed an overall lag in corporate social responsibility in Australia and New Zealand.

According to ACCSR, the review, which considered 990 survey respondents, spanning business, industry, community and government sectors, is the largest on-going research study into CSR capabilities and practices in Australia, and one of the largest in the world.

ACCSR Managing Director, Dr Leeora Black said respondents attributed the slow CSR progress to an unsympathetic public policy environment and lack of leadership.

“Respondents to the survey are calling for more leadership from business, government and the academic sector. They hope that CSR will have more government support and believe that mainstreaming would be assisted by more mandatory CSR actions.”

Respondents also noted frustration at the slow pace of organisational and systemic implementation.

Black said that future progress in CSR would be closely tied to innovation in the arenas of supply chain, environment, reporting and collaboration with stakeholders and that going forward organisations simply needed to do more on a systemic, rather than just organisational basis.

“Only in this way can we address deep-rooted social, economic and environmental problems to create lasting value for both organisations and their stakeholders,” she said.

Deakin University Centre for Sustainable and Responsible Organisations Deputy Director, Dr Colin Higgins agreed that innovative thinking and strong leadership was required and said the report was a wake-up call for education, business and government.

“In previous years The State of CSR Annual Review has identified securing organisational buy-in as the greatest obstacle for progress in this area and this year‘s question about the development of CSR points to the same challenge,” Higgins said.

2014 was the seventh annual review since 2007, and aimed to analyse the level of social responsibility that organisations across all sectors demonstrate when implementing their policy and practices.

The review coincided with the tenth anniversary of the establishment of ACCSR.

“To mark our anniversary, we want to increase our impact on the professionalisation of CSR. We have decided to establish a not-for-profit organisation called CSRConnect.ed to leverage and extend our pro bono work of the past decade.

“CSRConnect.ed is now running The State of CSR Annual Review, our conferences and other events and will seek to broaden its activities and impact over time,” Black said.  

Additional views of respondents:

  • Progress in CSR in the last decade has been slow and insufficient, but awareness of CSR has been achieved.
  • Integration and mainstreaming should be the focus of the next decade.
  • The highest priority is better engagement with stakeholders; but apart from that, companies are focused internally.
  • CSR reporting is still considered to be about reputation and brand.
  • For most respondents the last decade in CSR has been about the first steps of the journey and establishing the basics: raising awareness, demonstrating CSR’s importance.
  • The biggest source of new sustainability reporters in the short-term will be professional service firms and the Not for Profit sector.
  • Organisations are putting significant efforts into stakeholder engagement and community investment. Policy and strategy, reporting, and internal communications are also important activity areas.
  • Less time and money will be devoted to human rights, sustainable procurement, diversity and climate change activities.

Read the review here.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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