12/09/2023 11:46 am, by ICSP Editor

Leadership Is Lacking in CSR And ESG


Leadership Is Lacking in CSR And ESG


Without more leadership, new threats and uncertain times lie ahead for the world of CSR and ESG.

But according to a survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals and YourCause from Blackbaud, there is a disconcerting disconnect between C-suite (the executive-level managers within a company) leaders and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) departments.

The survey sampled CSR and ESG employees from 149 different companies representing over $1 billion in community investment.

While many C-suite leaders like to talk a big game about the importance of CSR and ESG, just 44% of those surveyed said their C-suite executives were highly committed to ESG, and only 39% believed their C-suite executives understood their department’s strategy. Even fewer respondents (33%) believed C-suite executives understood their company’s CSR strategy.


Leadership Commitment in CSR and ESG is Needed

While perceptions of C-suite commitment to CSR and ESG grew year-over-year, 46% of respondents wanted “more focus or buy-in” from C-suite executives.

Studies have shown millennials are willing to pass up jobs at companies that aren’t committed to strong CSR values. If C-suite executives fail to heed these internal warning signs, bridge the divide, and invest in CSR and ESG, they risk damaging their brand’s reputation and position in the marketplace.

As corporations tighten their belts, CSR and ESG professionals are feeling the pinch. But only 42% of respondents said they had enough resources to meet their leadership’s expectations. More capacity and financing are needed, according to those surveyed.

This divide isn’t just impacting employee morale, retention, and burnout–it’s also impacting outputs.


DEI Leadership Is In Short Supply – for CSR and ESG Department

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is needed, but many CSR and ESG departments are still suffering from a lack of diverse representation. About 87% of survey respondents reported working on teams where less than half of the team was Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).

One of the goals of CSR and ESG is to capture and project a company’s best values beyond. Therefore, companies must recruit, hire, retain, and promote more BIPOC staff across every organizational level and department, including CSR and ESG.


Global Health Isn’t A Priority

Over half of all survey respondents (56%) identified environmental sustainability as a top corporate priority, followed by K-12 education (53%) and food insecurity (49%).

Yet amid a devastating global pandemic that has claimed nearly seven million lives and could end up costing the U.S. economy $14 trillion by the end of 2023, a measly 32% of respondents listed healthcare as a priority. Just 3% of respondents cited international development as a priority.






Learn more about the survey:


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