CSR emerging as a governance issue for boards

    OTTAWA, July 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is
directly linked to a firm's future and needs to be elevated to the board level
as a governance issue. A new Conference Board of Canada report introduces a
"CSR Governance Road Map" to help boards integrate social and environmental
issues as part of their oversight, strategic direction and reporting.
    The report, The Role of the Board of Directors in Corporate Social
Responsibility, is the first such look into Canadian boardrooms to determine
the role boards play, or ought to play, to influence a firm's social and
environmental performance. Institutional investors, concerned about the
long-term performance of firms, are the key players driving these issues from
the C-suite into the boardroom.
    "Firms are coming to understand the importance of corporate social
responsibility and sustainability to competitive performance, but their focus
on CSR at the operational level has kept these issues out of boardroom
strategy. Increasingly, boards are starting to understand that environmental,
social and ethical issues can be of material significance. Therefore, they are
starting to exercise their fiduciary responsibility in this area", said Coro
Strandberg, author of the report and a leading CSR expert.
    "Corporate governance is on the radar of corporations, regulators and
stakeholders as never before. There is now a trend toward greater
consideration of CSR by boards. This trend is driven by the growing CSR
business case and by institutional shareholders with long-term investment
horizons," said Prem Benimadhu, Vice-president of Governance and Human
Resource Management. "The result is the mainstreaming of CSR as a governance
    The 12-step road map is designed in two stages: Stage 1 is for boards
just beginning to plot their governance framework. An important first step is
for boards to be involved in establishing a CSR mission, vision, and values,
and in setting the tone "at the top." Stage 2 includes six steps for
organizations intending to deepen board CSR practice.

    The study was financially supported by the Association of Chartered
Certified Accountants (ACCA), Enbridge Inc., Industry Canada, NATIONAL Public
Relations, Nexen Inc., Petro-Canada, SaskEnergy, Strandberg Consulting,
Syncrude Canada Ltd., TELUS and TD Canada Trust.

    The report is publicly available at www.e-library.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext. 448, corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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