Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business
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market for consultancy services is in rude health

January 2007

The extent of CSR professional service provision has been laid bare in the first printed international directory of organizations offering advisory and other services in the field.

Two-thirds of the 443 organizations listed in the 68-page CSR Professional Services Directory 2007, which is published by Ethical Performance, are based in Europe and a fifth in the Americas, while one in eight have their headquarters in the Asia Pacific region, with a smaller number covering the Middle East and Africa. In all they are based in 36 countries, with many frequently working outside their national boundaries. Most offer more than one CSR service.

One in five help companies in the auditing, production and assurance of non-financial reports, and around the same proportion (21 per cent) advise on developing corporate strategies and on managing relationships with third parties such as civil society groups (see graph below).

Thirteen provide and maintain software designed to make it easier for companies to manage CSR and sustainability data, with nearly all offering proprietary systems to do this. About the same number are helping companies’ marketing departments to link products and campaigns with specific social and environmental causes.

Comparison with last year’s directory, which was the first ever to be published for the field, suggests that the proportion of consultants providing strategic advice on how to improve companies’ social and environmental performance remains about the same, at around a fifth of the total, and that the proportion offering public relations advice has fallen, from ten to seven per cent. Climate change has seen a big growth in consultancy services. However, strict comparisons cannot be drawn as last year’s directory covered only the UK and parts of Europe.

Entrants were contacted prior to inclusion to establish the nature and extent of their provision of CSR and sustainability services, with a standard listing being free.

An online version of the 2007 edition will go live later this month. The CSR Professional Services Directory is once again sponsored by Cafédirect, Britain’s largest fairtrade hot drinks company.

Organizations listed range from the leading audit and assurance professional services providers who operate in dozens of countries, through medium-sized consultancies down to individuals working on their own with expertise in niche areas such as the mentoring of board executives.

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