In order to guarantee a high level of confidentiality, the meeting was held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants from 16 leading European multinationals described the biggest challenges in securing pay-off in their CSR strategy:
– demonstrating the added value of CSR to investors
– involving all the actors along the value chain
– securing the constructive involvement of NGOs
– enhancing internal CSR knowledge
– raising awareness among clients/consumers
The majority of participants felt that often, external evaluations of a company’s CSR performance are biased, contradictory and superficial, and that public discussion tends towards black and white interpretations of CSR issues.
At the same time, participants acknowledged that accusations of greenwashing against corporations during the last two decades were at least partially justified.
The participants were divided over the question of whether CSR performance and policy are mainly kept alive by a company’s hardware (i.e. structure) or software (i.e. culture), with 40% voting for hardware and 60% voting for software → further information in the summary report