Setting a New Standard for CSR: Prove Your Purpose

When it comes to corporate social responsibility, aspirational mission statements are not enough – consumers and other stakeholders demand proof of progress. The 2012 Cone Communications Corporate Social Return Trend Tracker finds that 84 percent of Americans hold companies accountable for producing and communicating the results of CSR commitments.

Here at Cone, we believe CSR must go beyond a well-defined “purpose.” Today, we are launching Corporate Social Return, our new approach to CSR that is founded on our ardent conviction that CSR must deliver and communicate mutual return to sustain in the future. Corporate Social Return centers on delivering measurable business, brand and societal impacts to yield benefits for vested stakeholders.

Delivering and communicating return has never been more important. Stakeholders now play powerful roles in a brand’s overall success or failure. Although consumers reward companies that proactively share CSR details and results, they will punish those that do not communicate enough:

  • 86 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a company that reports its CSR results
  • 82 percent say they are more likely to purchase a product that clearly demonstrates the results of the company’s CSR initiatives than one that does not
  • 40 percent say they will not purchase a company’s products or services if CSR results are not communicated


Corporate Social Return goes beyond promises and designs for measurable impact. Inherent in Corporate Social Return is our mantra and standard for CSR to “Prove Your Purpose.” Our CSR group is composed of subject matter experts from across Sustainable Business Practices, Social Impact and Engagement & Communications. Dedicated teams work with our clients to design Corporate Social Return Campaigns that pair deep analysis of issues and stakeholders with a laser-focus on impact measurement.

Purpose begins the journey. Return is the destination. This is our vision for the future of CSR.

Learn more about our Corporate Social Return philosophy, services and tools by joining our webinar on Wednesday, November 14, at 1 pm EST. Registration can be accessed here.

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