Responsible business, good practice

The importance of the Corporate Social Responsibility important and the ways companies realise it, not as an obligation, but as a deliberate activity in line with the objects and the mission of the company.

 

Corporate Social Responsibility is a management approach that takes into account the organisation’s social and environmental impact. Regardless of its scale and nature, every business exerts a certain influence on the environment, and a socially responsible approach strives to minimise the negative and maximise the positive influence.

We provide our clients with day-to-day support in achieving their CSR objectives by defining sustainable development strategies supporting the conduct of business, by identifying parametres allowing to monitor the scale of the above-mentioned impact, by improving the organisational culture and carrying out communication activities towards an image of a socially responsible business, inspiring confidence in investors, customers, business partners and other stakeholders. Our clients include CSR leaders who have for years been going far beyond the existing home market standards and obligations provided for by statutory law.

The project Academy CSR “Corporate Social Responsibility Development”, whose Martis CONSULTING is originator and key partner, represents a series of free conferences organised since 2012 by the publisher of “Puls Biznesu” under the auspices of the Ministry of Treasury. One of the project partners used to be the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Its aim is to support SMEs in overcoming barriers associated with the development of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Generally, small and medium-sized companies have an intuitive and less formal approach to CSR. It happens that they have concerns about the implementation of CSR practices for fear of lack of relevant competence or necessity to incur significant organisational and financial expenditure. Moreover, most trainings and conferences devoted to CSR are paid, which is an insurmountable barrier for SMEs. Additonaly, CSR is often approached from the point of view of a large company. Therefore, workshops organised as part of the CSR Academy are valuable experience, as far as they allow our experts and companies considered as CSR leaders to discuss practical aspects related to the implementation of such an approach. It inspires regional SMEs to take specific actions.

So far approx. 1,300 people interested in building a competitive market position based on CSR rules have attended our conferences. The approach we represent was recognised by the fact that the CSRAcademy was awarded in the 16th edition of “Corporate Social Responsibility Report” in 2013. In the weekly “Financial Newspaper”. The series of conferences did not pass unnoticed by the experts of the Responsible Business Forum who included the initiative in the report “Responsible Business in Poland 2014. Good Practices”.

Individual investors’ point of view

CSR ever more popular among individual investors

Over 60 percent of individual investors admit to have heard the term ‘corporate social responsibility’. Vast majority of them believe that compliance with CSR guidelines is important for a company’s investors. Such conclusions come from the survey regarding investors’ view on CSR principles adopted by public listed companies, conducted by Martis CONSULTING in cooperation with Warsaw Stock Exchange, The Polish Association of Listed Companies, and The Individual Investor Association. The majority of the respondents also do not recognize membership of a company with the WSE’s RESPECT Index as their decision-altering factor. more

Institutional investors’ point of view

Institutional investors’ expectations are what drives listed companies

In the eyes of institutional investors, a corporate strategy that includes corporate social responsibility increases the value of a company dramatically. The majority of them also recognize the importance of CSR implementation in a listed company. Such conclusions can be drawn from the survey regarding investors’ view on CSR principles adopted by public listed companies, conducted by Martis CONSULTING in cooperation with Warsaw Stock Exchange, The Polish Association of Listed Companies, and The Individual Investor Association. more

Listed companies’ point of view

What drives listed companies are institutional investors’ expectations

In the eyes of institutional investors, a corporate strategy that includes corporate social responsibility increases the value of a company dramatically. The majority of them also recognize the importance of CSR implementation in a listed company. Such conclusions can be drawn from the survey regarding investors’ view on CSR principles adopted by public listed companies, conducted mid-2014 by Martis CONSULTING in cooperation with Warsaw Stock Exchange, The Polish Association of Listed Companies, and The Individual Investor Association.

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What’s with the PR?

In one of the wise books devoted to the subject of public relations published in the last decade (2004 to be precise) I have found a questionnaire on PR awareness. The first two questions raised by the authors were: “have you ever heard the abbreviation PR?” and “are you familiar with the notion of public relations?”. Today, over 10 years after the time of publication, nobody would even care to ask such trivial questions. PR has become more than common, it’s inherent in our business reality. And just as any other branch, it has undergone fundamental changes.

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Leader armed with experts

Nowadays, the value of the company is supported not only by its assets, top quality products and services, and consequently built prestige. The CEO himself – making right decisions, conducting business effectively, acting as his own brand’s ambassador – becomes added value. Any company that strives for recognition, brand awareness and increase in value for its owners, shareholders and clients, should find a true and inspiring leader in its CEO. A leader surrounded by a team of experts in their respective fields, willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

In a world, where more and more importance is placed on the brand and values it relates to, company’s promotion must be nearly continuous. This is true for products and services. And it also holds for the people who produce them, represented – in terms of promotion – by the management, and the CEO. The question that arises is whether every organization can successfully shape its CEO’s reputation as a leader.

It appears so. PR tools which can be used in such case are based i.a. on engaging a team of experts who cooperate with the CEO. Since no one is omniscient, the board members in charge of finance, HR, or production will have a better understanding of their respective fields that the CEO, who puts all of these pieces together. Such ambassadors of their departments will offer their support and valuable advice when an opportunity arises for the company to present its plans and developments in a given field. A wise CEO and a good leader should be able to make use of his experts’ know-how.

Companies are not ready for media crisis

According to a study conducted by Martis CONSULTING and SEG – Polish Association of Listed Companies, only 13% of stock exchange listed companies have instructions on how to manage crisis. Most of them, however, behave reactively and only act post factum. A well-prepared company can act ahead of media chaos and combat the crisis, boosting its brand reputation.

What is worth noticing is that, even if companies are instructed on how to manage crisis, these instructions are either old and not relevant anymore, or simply not verified. Not particularly strange, taken into account that a surprising 75% of companies have never conducted a crisis simulation before. The expected results are rather obvious – crisis can come as a big surprise. Every company, sooner or later, will probably have to face it. The way it will handle it, can impact its – built for years – reputation.

This is why crisis communication management is essential. On the one hand, it can help save a company from fatal consequences, on the other – it enables a company to come up with procedures that will prevent future plights. Each crisis – no matter how small – is serious, as it can grow tremendously in size, and be a threat to a company. It all depends on how well it is communicated. This is why coordinated and effective communication, with a crisis management team, a leader and messages prepared in advance, is so important.

Investor relations or financial PR?

“Share price goes up and down, but my reputation, once down, will never go up!” – an American industrial holding company vice-president once said to his investors. The latest survey of WIG30 companies, carried out by “Parkiet” daily shows, that such communication approach is yet to be learned by Warsaw Stock Exchange members.

Are investor relations a part of public relations or an element of financial PR? Those terms are complementary and closely connected, which makes it nearly impossible to draw a line between them. So instead, every company should focus on making them part of a coherent communication strategy, supervised and assisted by the company’s CEO. It is crucial that they are not organized as separate teams, defending their autonomy within the structure of the holding, but their members collaborate with PR persons, press officers, as well as analysts from the financial and controlling departments. Only the companies with well organized internal communication can guarantee the highest quality of their external communication.

The survey of “Parkiet” daily was carried out among the leading WSE-listed companies. All of the entities in question can afford simple, reliable and frequent communication with investors; however, not all of them recognize the need. It might be a matter of arrogance and confidence that “the crisis will not affect me”. Or it might just as well be the sheer laziness of communication departments, not motivated or supervised by the CEO, who shapes the communication policy of his company.

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