Presentation of the Report "20 years of CSR / Sustainability in Spanish companies: evolution and trends" EN
Merco (the first Corporate Reputation Business Monitor) and DIRSE (Spanish Association of Social Responsibility Executives) have teamed up to study the evolution of the variables related to CSR / S that are present in the different Merco monitors in recent years. 20 years, with the aim of having an overview of how their weight has varied according to the different audiences surveyed. The result could be seen, on June 28, in the online event for the presentation of the 'Report 20 years of CSR / Sustainability in Spanish companies: evolution and trends', whose presentation was made by José María San Segundo, CEO of Merco , together with Alberto Andreu, president of DIRSE.
After that, a round table of experts took place with Alberto Castilla; EY Sustainability Partner; Amalia Blanco, former Director of Communication, CSR and External Relations at Bankia; Miriam Porres, Director of CSR and Compliance at Sorigué; and David Pérez, vice president of HR, Sustainability and Public Affairs at Cabify; and moderated by Alberto Andreu. All of them agreed that the demands eat the advances in ethics and CSR, since the expectations of society are ahead of the advances achieved.
By way of introduction, Alberto Andreu pointed out that the concept of ethics and CSR / Sustainability (CSR / S) from 20 years ago to the one we currently have has produced great growth, in which CSR is linked to sustainability, since “ these two concepts work in the same territory: that of companies that have as their ground the fulfillment of the law, having to reduce to the maximum their negative externalities and maximize their opportunities and positive impacts in the field of social, economic and environmental development ' .
Evolution of the concept of reputation
“The concept of reputation is a mix between what we do and what we say. If what I do does not correspond to what I say, there is a problem. And if what I do is not counted, there is a huge lack of opportunity. A great opportunity has been lost ”, says Alberto Andreu.
In the last 20 years, the reputational profile of Merco companies has changed a lot. In 2001, ethics and corporate responsibility, as a strength, barely figured at 5%, while in 2020 that percentage rose to 14%. An increase that contrasts with the drop in the quality of the commercial offer, from 37% to 22%.
However, ethics and CSR remain the main corporate weakness. What has happened? 'The demands on CSR continue to be ahead of progress,' says José María San Segundo. “Expectations are ahead of our actions and efforts. Expectations ‘eat’ progress. The challenge is tremendous ”, he adds.
If we focus on the evolution of the reputational profile of the most responsible companies with the best corporate governance from 2014 to 2020, the balance of strengths and weaknesses gives us the result that 'Commitment to the Environment and climate change' is the great weakness even in the field of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).
The importance of CSR as a leadership factor
But we must not forget that CSR is a differentiating lever, because when we look at large companies (those that have occupied the top 10 of the Merco ranking during these 20 years), the data reveals that CSR care has become a value and a clear indicator of leadership.
Regarding the evolution of strengths in the Ethics and CSR variables (2011-2020), the most significant advance occurs in Ethical corporate behavior (from 3.9 to 5.6), while in weaknesses we find it in the Social and environmental responsibility (with a negative balance of 1.3, going from 8.8 to 10.1) The commitment to the environment continues to be, today, a growing weakness.
Reputation and leaders
And how is the reputational profile of business leaders in 2020? There is not much difference between what happened in 2011 and in 2020, highlighting the significant improvement in the value of Talent, which goes from 11.7 in 2011 to 16.5 in 2020.
Focusing on CSR, if we compare with what happened in 2014, when the balance was negative in terms of boosting ethical behavior and CSR / S (-7.5), we see that it is reduced in 2020 (-5.6), although it continues to be a weakness of our leaders.
The voice of the experts
Regarding the assessment made by CSR experts, it is increasingly critical, showing a deficit in the period from 2013 to 2020 in the variables of ethical behavior (-3.0), transparency and good governance (-0.9), responsibility with employees (-4.2), commitment to the environment and climate change (-5.0) and contribution to the community (-4.1). However, if we compare it with what happens in the companies that have occupied the top 10 of the Merco ranking between 2013 and 2020, we find that there is clear growth in all these variables, which shows the direct correlation between CSR and leadership.
Regarding the opinion of each group, we observe that the evaluations of NGOs and economic information journalists improve and those of unions, consumer associations and experts in CSR / S fall, with the latter being the most pronounced drop.
In the opinion of the panelists who had the opportunity to participate in this event to analyze the 20 years of evolution of CSR / Sustainability in Spanish companies, 'the expectations of society were greater than reality.' Everything indicates that the effort lags behind what is demanded of companies today, with which we must continue working and do much more.
Society has become much more demanding in terms of CSR and Sustainability. It must be clear that a company will exist to the extent that society wants it to exist. And this happens if you are constantly listening and attending to this growing demand related to ethics, corporate governance and responsibility.