The VW scandal has raised questions across the globe about the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). How can corporations be believed when they claim to care about the environment amidst revelations that measures have been deployed by a major car company to avoid compliance with emission controls?

When one company is found to be wanting is it right to distrust all corporations? Is CSR still viable as a concept or is it now so damaged it needs to be re-set?

The former CEO of BP Lord Browne has just published a new book, Connect in which he discusses how big firms should handle disasters. He has experience - his time as chief executive at oil giant BP coincided with the Texas City refinery explosion in 2005.

He told the Guardian newspaper recently that “a company will recover faster from a PR disaster if it has already built up a reservoir of trust with society and consumers. He reckons that a company’s relationship with society accounts for around 30% of its market value. Moving quickly and openly to make amends is also key.”

But he also questions the worth of CSR in the wake of VW and in a recent interview with the BBC, said it had become “a prop that companies can use to put peoples’ legitimate concerns into a side pocket.” For him the whole idea of CSR is now suspect.

But according to CSR is worth saving. They reckons that since the 1990s firms have become more transparent about their environmental, labour and human rights practices and impacts - arguing that what is needed now is a renewed and strengthened CSR.

If you are keen to explore these highly topical ideas and are looking for a speaker to talk about these issues at your event, we have many to choose from. How about, Gunter Pauli  an environmental entrepreneur, author and speaker, or Roger Martin, a leading management expert and speaker. Lucy Marcus is one of a new generation of business leaders and decision makers, who combines effectiveness with ethical standards or you can get in touch with us to talk about the many interesting speakers on our books +44 (0)1628 636600.

Nov 4, 2015 By Lucy Thorpe