ECONOMY

Greek firms still half-hearted on CSR

The importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) will rise in the next five years, a large majority of Greek companies told a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers in collaboration with the Executive MBA program of the Athens University of Economics and Business. The study shows that although corporate social responsibility on the whole is now within the visibility of big Greek enterprises, they cannot find enough good reasons to fully embrace it. Most of them restrict their involvement to charity work, developed mainly in order to improve their current and future corporate reputation, as they recognize how the importance of CSR will rise in the next five years. The most important factors that companies believe will increase the significance of CSR refer to internal pressure, while only one of the five key factors has direct financial bearing, namely the better management of risks and opportunities. They do not seem to be particularly concerned about the effect of CSR on other external factors of a financial nature, such as pressure from investors and shareholders and better access to capital funds. The main obstacle to adopting CSR practices, according to the survey, is the difficulty in setting concrete and measurable targets, while its definition and its potential meaning for business seem to be troubling companies too. These three factors, the study concludes, are related to Greek companies’ inability to understand corporate social responsibility, link it to their activity and form a corporate culture helping them reap long-term benefits. The Greek network of Corporate Social Responsibility, which lists more than 60 prominent firms and employers’ organizations, may be contacted at 210.338.7422.