US out of recession, what might it mean for corporate responsibility?

The US economy expanded by more than 1% in the three months to October. So says the BBC today.

Great news, particularly given the negativity around Copenhagen at the moment.

What will it mean for corporate responsibility budgets?

Clearly this news comes at a good time. Budgets are being re-done right now for 2010 in many large companies.

I don’t imagine CFO’s will want to lift travel restrictions until they absolutely have to, but we should now see much more impetus behind innovation in corporate responsibility in the US.

With France and China also doing quite well, and Germany not that far behind, we may see a loosening of the corporate purse strings within the next year so.

I wouldn’t imagine it happening that quickly, but the shift is upwards, which is very good news.

Consultancies I know in the field haven’t suffered too badly in the recession, and whilst non-essential areas such as conferences and sponsorships have been cut, we’re seeing them come back if the idea behind the event or proposal is a good one.

The number of conference invitations I’ve received has shot up in the last two months.

And companies, such as Mars, Cadbury and Starbucks have made announcements in the difficult recent times that show how responsible business is becoming mainstream in their purchasing practices.

Nestle just announced that will only source sustainable palm oil by 2015.

Multi-national companies, who have perhaps suffered least in the downturn, seem well placed to make more such shifts in 2010.

The great benefit of the recession was to cut out a lot of the dross and fluff around corporate responsibility. It certainly made my firm leaner and more efficient.

Now with at least some momentum behind whatever does come out of Copenhagen in December, I’m hopeful of a really interesting year in 2010.

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