CEOs say that the top reason for having a responsible business agenda is to deliver sustainable, long-term growth for their business, according to the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), 2011 Responsible Ireland Survey. The survey of Irish CEOs, performed by Amárach Research, shows seven in 10 business leaders expect the way we run business in Ireland to change as a result of the recession, with a need to reduce costs, impose stricter governance and reassess our income expectations.
The CEO survey results were announced at the launch of last year’s National Corporate Responsibility Week 2011 at PwC offices in Dublin. The impact of a responsible business agenda can be seen on the bottom line with nearly two thirds agreeing that responsible business performance gives them a competitive advantage, one third stating their company brand and reputation has benefited and one in five saying customer loyalty has improved. Areas in which business leaders feel they have a strong corporate responsibility performance include the wellbeing and welfare of their staff (68 percent), the sustainability of their products and services (63 percent) and community relations (51 percent). Only four in 10 feel their relationship with government and policy makers is strong; one in 10 say it is poor. The majority of responsible initiatives implemented are in the area of environment (37 percent) with 1 in 5 focusing efforts on staff well being and development.
However, barriers still remain for those looking to transform their business to a more responsible ethos. Two thirds of business leaders feel that the pressure of their day-to-day responsibilities consume all their time while six in ten say a lack of buy in from others in their organisation staff/management/board is also a barrier, with staff being the most difficult group to engage on the topic. More than half (54 per cent) cited the cost of the implementation as a barrier with further CEOs (32 percent) saying that an inability to measure return on investment is a key factor. One in three also commented that a lack of government support is a barrier.
Creating competitive advantage and differentiation was highlighted as the biggest challenge facing the next generation of Irish business leaders. Cost effectiveness and management of costs was also raised (15 percent) with the next biggest issue being maintaining a skilled work force (14 percent), reflecting current immigration issues of a depleted young, educated and skilled work force.
However, the clear message coming through from the survey is that businesses need to change and adapt. 7 in 10 business leaders think that Ireland should aim to become a world centre of excellence for responsible business practice. This will encourage foreign direct investment (36 per cent), would improve our reputation on the world stage (18 per cent) and create consumer demand (15 percent).
This is the second year of our Annual CEO Survey on Corporate Responsibility. We look forward to announcing the latest results of our 2012 survey during National Responsible Business Week in October.
For further information, please contact Una O Murchu, Marketing & Communications Executive on 01 874 7232 or firstname.lastname@example.org