Even if CSR budgets “freeze”, companies increase their community involvement, survey says

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Companies are looking for ways to respond to CSR teams to the challenges of 2020, says the study Dynamics and Perspective of the CSR Domain in Romania conducted by Valoria together with CSRMedia.ro. Community involvement, support for health and focus on final beneficiaries are the areas of focus highlighted by this analysis.

In 2020, 79% of the responding companies, compared to 62% last year, define social responsibility as a sustainable business strategy. The results of this year’s research also record significant increases in community involvement (+9pp), philanthropy (+9pp), responsible supply chain management (+8pp). The only decrease, moreover marginal, is in business ethics (-1pp).

This year, 52% of companies, compared to 40% in 2019, say they are involved in CSR because it brings them recognition and visibility. On the other hand, although there are fewer companies that say they get involved in CSR because it facilitates the development of the employer brand (-7pp), there are more that say that the financial value of the company increases (+6pp), as well as those that say that it is part of their sustainability strategy (+1pp).

The answers to this edition show that the percentage of companies that say they have a local CSR strategy decreases by -13pp. The biggest growth is also in 2020, the companies that say they have received the CSR strategy from the parent company, this mechanism being, in fact, the main way of proliferation of the CSR field in Romania. Moreover, 48% of the responding companies, compared to 41% last year, say that they have a CSR strategy received from the group / parent company they implement.

The percentage of companies that say they do not have an internal/external process to identify topics relevant to the company in the field of CSR but are working on it is increasing by +9pp. This result further indicates a maturation of the CSR approach by companies.

In total, compared to last year, the number of companies following the impact of CSR increases by +4pp. Reporting according to international standards decreases by -13pp, the one according to own evaluation systems increases by +1pp, and the one based on evaluations offered by partners decreases by -2pp. No less than 44% of the responding companies, compared to 26% in the previous year, say that they use their own evaluation systems to monitor the impact of CSR activities.

Over 94% of the responding companies collaborate with NGOs for the implementation of CSR projects this year as well. It is noteworthy the increase by +3pp of those who have a collaboration with the central/local authorities, but especially the increase of +4pp of the responding companies that collaborate with educational institutions. 39% of companies in 2020, compared to 26% in 2019, collaborate with institutions that provide medical and care services for the implementation of CSR projects.

CSR budgets that increase significantly, by 20%-30%, are less by -4pp in 2020 compared to 2019, but they are not the only ones that decrease. We see a -15pp decrease for companies that say their CSR budgets are 10%-20% higher, and a -10pp decrease for those that are 5%-10% higher this year. Some 41% of the responding companies, compared to 24% previously, say that the CSR budget has stagnated in 2020.

Also, 84% of companies communicate about their CSR projects in social media (stagnation), 73% through press releases (-11pp compared to 2019), and 81% through the company’s website (+15pp).

Except for four growing sectors – health, sports, entrepreneurship and education – all the others fell or stagnated in 2019. The +13pp growth in the health sector now puts it in second place, and education (+1pp) remains a leader. The social sector (-4pp) drops to third place, and the environment (-5pp) drops to fourth place. 73% of companies in 2019, compared to 55% previously (+13pp), targeted the field of health for intervention and support and only 18% vs. 44% (+4pp) entrepreneurship.

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