New CSR and ESG Survey Shows Profession Under Intense Pressure to Perform With Fewer Resources
A new CSR and ESG survey released by the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP), an advocate for corporate social impact professionals, offers exclusive insights into the real-world impact a polarized political environment and increasing demands are having on the ability of corporations to carry out social impact work in communities across the country.
The full survey results and key graphs and data illustrating the findings can be viewed here.
The survey of 149 companies representing more than $1 Billion in community investments, conducted throughout April 2023, found “an important corporate function under intense pressure to produce results in a charged environment, often with fewer resources and continuing post-pandemic challenges.”
“Strong ESG and CSR practices are proven strategies for companies to remain competitive in the global economy, yet results from our survey of professionals in the field show increasing demands to perform with fewer resources.” said Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP) president and CEO Carolyn Berkowitz. “The survey results underscore a critical business function experiencing rapid instability and change, impeding a company’s ability to successfully meet critical stakeholder expectations, including those of investors, consumers, and employees.”
Against the backdrop of a polarized political environment impacting the conversation around the implementation of ESG and CSR efforts, the survey highlights several key findings in the field:
- Practice Fatigue: Increased demands, coupled with a polarized political environment, are resulting in adverse consequences on both the function and ESG and CSR professionals. 86% of respondents indicated increased demands, with 61% reporting longer hours, 50% burnout, and a startling 19% (one in 5) of CSR and ESG professionals reporting mental health concerns.
- Community Investment Regression: Companies’ grantmaking budgets mostly stayed flat in 2023, with the lowest number of companies (only 29%) increasing community investment budgets in the last year - the lowest increase since the pandemic and a significant drop from a high point in 2021.
- Changing Priorities: Racial justice/equity as a corporate priority decreased in the last year, while environmental sustainability became the top issue focus. 44% of respondents indicated racial justice/equity as their company’s top issue area focus, a 12% decrease from last year. 56% percent of respondents identified environmental sustainability as a top priority.
- Impact of a New Work Environment: Participation in employee volunteerism showed significant increases and new adaptations to a changing workplace, rebounding from declines in the last few years. 61% reported an increase in employee volunteerism.
“Corporate social impact and sustainability professionals are being pushed past their limits as the demand for results increases and resources decrease or remain stagnant. Without the financial and human resources and support from the C-suite that these initiatives require to be effective, the gains companies have made in the last five years will quickly lose momentum. Building back stakeholder trust is far more expensive than not losing it in the first place.” concluded Berkowitz.
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of the staff of NonProfit PRO.