Download the Third Sector iPad edition

Superficial approach to corporate social responsibility is a thing of the past, says Cameron

Prime Minister tells audience at a Business in the Community event that companies now have a deeper engagement with charities and causes

David Cameron
David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron has said companies’ attitudes to corporate responsibility have "changed utterly" in recent years.

Cameron said the "superficial" approach of the past had been replaced by a deeper engagement with charities and causes.

His comments came yesterday during a speech to the charity Business in the Community, in which he criticised people who attack big businesses.

"We’ve got to take on certain snobbish attitudes," said Cameron. "The snobbery that says business has no inherent moral worth like the state does,  that it isn’t really to be trusted, that it should stay out of social concerns."

He said companies no longer regarded corporate responsibility as just a way to win people over.

"When this movement began, some of it was quite superficial," he said. "You did get companies practising a kind of moral off-setting – allowing irresponsible things to happen day after day then once a year making a big pay-out to charity to ease their conscience.

"But over the past decade or two corporate responsibility has changed utterly. Today it’s about integrating your values deeply into the soul of your business.

"So Starbucks doesn’t just give millions to charity; it also helps coffee farmers all over the world to boost their incomes.

"BT doesn’t just support charities like ChildLine; it has a great track record in supporting women back into work after maternity leave."

Cameron said corporate responsibility was now about "doing good and doing well out of it".

Hannah Terrey, head of policy at the Charities Aid Foundation, said Cameron was right to suggest commerce can be a force for social good.

"A crucial part of doing business more responsibly is in continuing to support charities, many of which currently benefit hugely from corporate support," she said. 

"But the social purpose of a company stems from its leadership. The role of chief executives in setting the right corporate culture and in acting as an example to their employees is essential if businesses are going to realise their potential for doing good."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

Forthcoming Events

CFG Northern Conference 2015

  • Wed 1 Jul 2015
  • Manchester

Foundation Charity Finance - London

  • Wed 15 Jul 2015
  • London

NCVO Campaigning Conference 2015

  • Mon 14 Sep 2015
  • London
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners


Expert Hub

Advice on risk from a specialist insurer

A guide to the duty of candour

The new legislation requires charities and other organisations providing health or social care to be open and transparent about safety incidents


Expert Hub

Fundraising advice from BT MyDonate

Wooden Spoon stirs up excitement with the Arctic Challenge

The children's rugby charity, which is supported by BT MyDonate, is awaiting verification that it has set a world record for organising a rugby match at the North Pole