Only about a quarter (28 percent) of organizations with a corporate social responsibility strategy are integrating it into their corporate communications strategy, according to the latest Grayling Pulse survey, based on responses from more than 1,300 corporate communications executives worldwide.

Many organizations (37 percent) allocate just 10 percent of their overall communications budget to CSR communications, and only half (52 percent) believe the media are interested in covering CSR activities. Even so, few companies are taking their CSR message directly to stakeholders through social media: only 12 percent of respondents use social media to communicate their CSR activity.

This is despite that fact that respondents believe their CSR and sustainability activities have the greatest impact on their corporate reputation (cited by 30.1 percent of respondents). Other positive impacts include employee relations (17.7 percent) and stakeholder relations (15.5 percent).

The survey also found that only 15 percent of organizations have a fully developed CSR or sustainability strategy, while 26 percent have no official strategy at all.

According to Sarah Howe, international strategy lead consultant for Grayling’s Future Planet unit, “Pioneers have proven that competitive advantage can be gained through embedding sustainability into their businesses, marketing and communications. However, many more organisations now need to follow in the slipstream and evolve largely reputation defence and risk management approaches into long-term business strategy if they are to truly reap the benefits.”

Other findings include:
• The sectors that believe they have the best performance in CSR and sustainability are consumer and retail (58 percent), transportation, automotive and logistics (53 percent) and energy, environment and industry (53 percent);
• the top three areas of focus for CSR/sustainability programmes are; community and corporate social responsibility (16 percent); waste and recycling (13 percent) and philanthropy and volunteering (11 percent)
• The size of company influences how businesses are communicating their CSR and Sustainability strategies: annual reports and internal communications are the priority in large organisations with over 1000 employees; medium businesses (those with 250-1,000 staff) employ media relations plus internal communications mostly; smaller companies (less than 250 staff) are embracing social media.