Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business
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strategy advice in demand

April 2007

Consultancies advising companies on their strategic direction have commanded the highest number of searches by visitors to a new online directory of CSR service providers.

In the first six weeks of the online version of the Ethical Performance CSR Professional Services Directory, the largest number of searches (177) was made for providers of corporate strategy advice, making this comfortably the most popular of the 49 categories available. The next most frequent search was for sustainability specialists (154), followed by consultancies with climate change expertise (153).

More surprisingly, there were 113 searches for CSR information technology specialists, making that category search the seventh most popular. Philippe Tesler, co-founder of Enablon, a provider of software for managing corporate social and environmental data, said there had been a ‘dramatic’ increase in the number of companies looking for software to ‘report, manage and enhance their CSR performance in an auditable and sustainable manner’.

The new statistics offer one of the first quantifiable insights into the areas of service provision that CSR practitioners are seeking. EP hopes they will reveal changing patterns of interest over time.

In the first six weeks, the online directory had nearly 24,000 page impressions.

One closely watched area, given complaints from pressure groups of too much ‘greenwash’, will be the demand for advice from communications firms.

Searches for public relations firms numbered a healthy 93, but only just crept into the top ten and were roughly on a par with searches for providers offering advice on benchmarking and codes of conduct.

Among specific areas of CSR activity, stakeholder relations commanded the greatest number of searches, closely followed by community relations and ethical supply chain management. Searches for consultants offering expertise in staff involvement, work-life balance and diversity ran at about a third of that level. The under-served markets category generated the fewest searches.

The service providers that cropped up most frequently in search results (all global or UK unless specified) included Acona, Cause & Effect, Community Business (China), csrnetwork, Ecofys, E2 Management Consulting Switzerland), Ernst & Young, Fair Labor Association (US), Forética (Spain), Future Perfect, Sd3, SGS, The Virtuous Circle, and Umweltberatung Hoeppner CSR Consulting (Germany).

The directory, which is also available as a 68-page printed publication, is used by CSR practitioners to find firms that can assist in developing corporate responsibility programmes and policies. It lists 480 providers in all.

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