Richard Ivey School of Business

Richard Ivey School of Business

May 13, 2009 16:54 ET

Ivey/Jantzi research report shows CSR trending upwards

Banks lead in corporate governance, insurance companies decline

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Environment Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor LONDON, ON--(Marketwire - May 13, 2009) - Companies continue to make incremental strides on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a new report shows. According to the second edition of the Ivey-Jantzi corporate social responsibility research report, Canadian companies have improved their overall CSR performance in 2008.

The report, based on an ongoing collaboration between the Richard Ivey School of Business and Jantzi Research, reveals continuing improvement in performance during 2008, with 79 per cent of companies improving CSR ratings, up from 65 per cent the previous year. The study finds, across all categories, that companies are investing in, formalizing and communicating their CSR initiatives.

"This trend in corporate social responsibility in Canada is encouraging," said Tima Bansal, Associate Professor, Richard Ivey School of Business, and one of the leaders on the research. "Canadians are starting to demand companies from all industries consider their stakeholders, not just their shareholders."

The 2009 Ivey-Jantzi research report examines the corporate social responsibility of Canadian firms and highlights trends across industries in 2008. The firms are listed on the S&P/TSX Composite Index and are scored in six categories: community and society, corporate governance, customers, employees, environment and human rights.

The intent of the report is not to reward or rebuke performance, but to help companies understand overarching trends in order to better inform their own policies and initiatives.

Study highlights include:

* Banks continue to top the charts in the corporate governance category, while insurance companies continue a two-year decline

* Despite the attention to diversity initiatives in the past few years, the ratings show that firms are still struggling with this aspect of CSR

* Human rights scores have improved slightly. This increase was driven by more attention to policies and reporting

Community and society scores continued to climb steadily. Ongoing improvements to reporting and stakeholder engagement point to an awareness that companies need to secure and maintain the trust of communities and regulators and, in effect, their social licences to operate.

Senior oil and gas companies had higher community scores compared to junior oil and gas firms. This higher community involvement may be due to the extra resources available to the larger petroleum-producing companies, or to the increased pressure imposed on them because of their sheer size.

Canadian companies continue to pay most attention to corporate governance, such as producing publicly available documents such as codes of conduct and social responsibility reports. However, this category saw only slight improvements from the previous year, suggesting firms may now be turning their attention to other areas of social performance.

The most surprising score was in the environment category, especially notable in the oil and gas industry. It saw only modest gains, despite the heightened media attention surrounding climate change. The report suggests companies that want to improve their environmental scores should begin by reporting and measuring their environmental impacts.

The full report, "Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada: The 2009 Ivey-Jantzi Research Report", is available at www.ivey.ca/BSV and at http://www.jantziresearch.com/publications.

About the Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario
The Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario (www.ivey.ca) offers undergraduate (HBA) and graduate (MBA, Executive MBA and PhD) degree programs in addition to non-degree Executive Development programs. Ivey has campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto, and Hong Kong. Ivey recently redesigned its curriculum to focus on Cross-Enterprise Leadership - a holistic issues-based approach to management education that meets the demands of today's complex global business world.

About Jantzi Research
Jantzi Research Inc. is an independent investment research firm formed in 1992. The firm evaluates and monitors the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of global securities. Jantzi Research is a proven innovator of socially responsible investment (SRI) products, services and research tools whether clients require on customized portfolios, engagement strategies, or utilize Jantzi Research as part of their risk/return analysis. To learn more about Jantzi Research's Best of Sector? approach or the Canadian Social Investment Database? (CSID) visit www.jantzireserach.com.
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For more information, please contact:
Dawn Milne, Communications Specialist, Richard Ivey School of Business, 519-850-2536, dmilne@ivey.ca

Eusis Dougan-McKenzie, Director of Communications, Jantzi Research Inc., 416-861-0403, ext.37, edougan-mckenzie@jantziresearch.com

IN: ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dawn Milne, Communications Specialist, Richard Ivey School of Business
    Primary Phone: 519-850-2536
    E-mail: dmilne@ivey.ca