Returns on investment in responsible business practice: higher in a downturn?

20 January 2009
Caroline Ashley
Comment

This Opinion argues that the downturn could offer opportunities for companies that invest in responsible business practices. Good business’ – or investing and operating responsibly in ways that optimise development impacts while delivering commercial return -- has proven its worth in the corporate world. At times of financial difficulty, firms may simply not be able to afford to invest in responsible business. However, those firms that can maintain their commitments and market position on these issues, will be able to differentiate themselves even more effectively from the rest. So their returns are likely to go up. Companies that stick firmly to their responsible business commitments, and find innovative ways to meet them in the downturn, will emerge further ahead of the field. Building resilience in a crisis, for the least resilient in the chain, is a high-value use of business competence for development. And a pathway to higher corporate returns in future.

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Caroline Ashley