CSR & Corporate Governance – Part 1

by Wine Visser, January 29, 2010.

There is no explicit CSR-related role for NEDs in the corporate governance codes – only an emphasis on their role in questioning the strategy, performance and controls for risk management. So once again, CSR would have to be inferred. There are a few hooks, however:

Last week, I spoke on the links between CSR, corporate governance and competitiveness at the 3rd International Conference on Corporate Governance in Istanbul. It is a topic close to my heart, as I have for a long time believed that corporate governance may be the best route to mainstreaming CSR.

When I was Director of KPMG’s Sustainability Services in South Africa, we were fortunate that Judge Mervyn King – under the auspices of the Institute of Directors and through the Code that bears his name – took a global lead on integrating CSR ideas into corporate governance.

The King Report, issued in 1994, was the first corporate governance code in the world to include explicit reference to stakeholders and the 2002 revised code (King II) included major sections on business ethics and integrated sustainability reporting.

King III, launched in 2009, goes even further. According to Mervyn King – who chaired also the conference panel I spoke on in Istanbul and who I interviewed while I was there – says that “the philosophy of King III revolves around leadership, sustainability and corporate citizenship.”…(continue reading)

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