CSR makes big strides as Russia sees global benefitJanuary 2009
Corporate responsibility has finally taken a firm hold in Russia, according to a new analysis.
The study indicates that 90 per cent of large Russian companies now have a CSR or sustainability programme either in place or in development – and that two thirds report on what they are doing in the field.
Growing commitment to CSR has largely been driven by the expansion of Russian business interests abroad, with foreign assets having tripled in Russia during the past four years and more than 50 companies headquartered in Russia and the CIS states now listed on the London stock exchange.
The study was commissioned by the Russian aluminium company UC Rusal and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a research consultancy, with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the United Nations Development Programme.
Based on a survey of 258 senior executives in Russia, it found that 70 per cent of respondents felt that good CSR and sustainability programmes were attracting business away from other emerging markets. The ability to compete internationally was given by 31 per cent of respondents as a reason for adopting sustainability policies, while only 21 per cent cited demands from governments and regulators.
The results support the conclusions of a 2007 report from the International Business Leaders’ Forum (IBLF), which said change on CSR was ‘clearly taking place’ and that lessons were rapidly being learned from best practice in western Europe. (EP9, issue 5, p7). Only two years previously, in 2005, the Russia Managers Association had said CSR in Russia was ‘disorganized and chaotic’.
However, Brook Horowitz, of the IBLF, said a fundamental cultural difference between Russia and the west was still undermining Russian progress. ‘Companies are still not being put under pressure by Russian law or the press or civil society’, he said.
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