Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Obama urged to create new CSR office

March 2009

Further signs of the high expectations of a change in attitude to corporate responsibility at the White House have emerged in an open letter to Barack Obama urging the  president to create a specialist CSR office in government.

Representatives of more than 50 organizations in the areas of socially responsible investment, international relief, development, human rights, and the environment have signed the letter calling for the creation of an ‘office for innovation in corporate social responsibility’.

Signatories – who include the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility, Oxfam, Aviva Investors, and the European Sustainable Investment Forum – suggest the office should be linked in to Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates domestic policy-making, and the National Security Council, which advises the president on foreign policy matters. This will ‘ensure appropriate co-ordination  [of CSR] on both the domestic and international fronts’.

They add that the office should be staffed by people with ‘professional experience’ in CSR and SRI who have worked on setting up cross-sector partnerships in both fields.

The office’s task, if established, would be to promote CSR ‘more comprehensively, more effectively and in line with public policy objectives in domestic and international arenas’.

The president’s office has not yet responded to the document, which is the second open letter on corporate responsibility to Obama. In December, before he was even inaugurated, he received a request to improve  financial disclosure by US firms.

Barack Obama | North America | Government role

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