Social Responsibility and Investors

The relationship of corporate social responsibility and investors was studied by Ioannis Ioannou of the London Business School and George Serafeim of the Harvard Business School. The 2010 study was titled, The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Investment Recommendations. As the title suggests, the social responsibility strategies were analyzed from the perspective of their influence on security analyst decisions concerning investing in companies.

The results were clear. The value of socially responsible strategies has risen in the minds of investors. The study also reported that firms seen as socially responsible are viewed more favorably by analysts and the more visibility the better. Social responsibility is value creating.

We tend to think of large corporations as being the only firms that need to be concerned about social responsibility. Unfortunately, many also view social responsibility with a bit of cynicism, believing that it’s a ploy to sell products and services. However, if that were true businesses would only do or spend just enough to attract investors and never go beyond the minimum. Yet even small businesses are found in the community as their employees volunteer time and money to local nonprofit efforts in a variety of areas. They help clean up the environment, raise money for hospitals and special causes and sponsor programs in childhood education and adult job training, to name just a few activities.

Social responsibility is a broad concept that addresses ethical business behavior and sensitivity to community issues. Those issues include economic, social and environmental aspects. All companies can increase their value by addressing the needs of its community stakeholders and by following ethical business practices. When businesses increase value, it’s easier to attract investors. Social responsibility is a win-win proposition.

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