Canadian companies continued to make incremental strides on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in 2008, however, the average environment scores across all firms showed little improvement over the past three years, according to the 2009 Ivey-Jantzi Research Report.
The report, based on an ongoing collaboration between the Richard Ivey School of Business and Jantzi Research, reveals continuing performance improvement during 2008, with 79 percent of companies improving their CSR ratings, up from 65 percent the previous year.
The report evaluates companies across 16 industries in six categories — community & society, corporate governance, customers, employees, environment and human rights.
Although the report indicates that the average environment scores across all firms showed little improvement over the past three years, researchers say some companies have improved their policies and have placed greater emphasis on public reporting and employee engagement regarding environmental issues.
Overall, report ratings show that companies performed poorly on the environmental impacts of their products and services, especially for the oil and gas industry. Some distinguished themselves through initiatives such as investments in renewable energy, according to the report. Oil and gas companies scored 4.44 out of 10, showing a 1.2 percent change from 2007 to 2008 and a 0.3 percent change from 2006 to 2008.
However, there are strong indications that Canadian companies paid more attention to their customers in 2008 than in the two previous years, according to the report. Researchers believe companies are starting to understand the importance customers have on their overall CSR performance. This is in contrast to almost no change in the same category between 2006 and 2007.