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Corporate responsibility strategy in business

Last week I spoke at the Business School at the University of Kent on business strategy and CR.

The audience was made up of around 100 students, and they seemed to enjoy it. We didn’t have much time for questions but the ones I got were difficult and right on the money.

I found the topic quite hard. “Strategy”, what do we mean by that? Management consultants love the term of course, it’s the top end of consulting, and many management ‘gurus’ have made their fortunes from it.

Because compared with other organisations business can move so quickly, and market changes mean going great guns one year can mean being taken over the next (e.g. Cadbury) it’s hard to pin down corporate strategy on CR.

Particularly in a field where issues seem almost to leap out of nowhere in a matter of what can seem like months.

So I hesitate to use use the word strategy in a definitive way in my presentations. So few companies, in my view, have really embedded it all the way through. Those that have, I would argue, include Marks and Spencer, Timberland, Innocent, Interface and a handful of others.

Here’s the presentation, hope it’s useful:

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