Ethical Performance reports that layoffs among corporate responsibility professionals have begun to trickle in as JPMorgan, Citigroup and the global law firm Eversheds integrate their functions and make some of their lead CR posts redundant.
For a growing number of companies, however, corporate responsibility continues to prove recession-proof. Fortune reports this week that despite harsh financial realities, many major companies, including Intel, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Wal-Mart, GE and Starbucks have no plans to abandon their commitments. Intel, for example, saw its stock price fall 42 percent in 2008 and had a weak fourth quarter, but pledges to continue its green investments and its commitments to global education programs in 2009, including the recent launch of the “Small Things Challenge,” an investment of up to $300,000 in education and development in a number of countries. “You can’t save your way out of a recession,” says Intel chairman Craig Barret. “You have to invest your way out.”
A long-term vision and a refusal to allow today’s short-termism to hamper progress and future sustainability may be the driving force behind these decisions. As GE’s chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt explained at the BSR conference last November, “When we come out of this fog, this notion that companies need to stand for something – they need to be accountable for more than just the money they earn – is going to be profound.”
What do you stand for?