ATLANTA, GA — Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is increasingly being used as a tool for expressing the values of companies and their shareholders, a way of linking organizations to popular or important issues, and a point of pride for employees, according to a report from CoreNet Global, The Bigger Picture: The Future of Corporate Real Estate.
Because the corporate real estate (CRE) function influences many factors related to CSR, it is well positioned to be the change agent within the organization, as more companies heighten their CSR profile.
For example, according to Colleen Conklin, Director of Research – Corporate Services with Sodexo North America, "green buildings and operations unquestionably reflect a responsible company with a strong commitment to its sustainability objectives. CRE can also be a mechanism for corporations to foster improved employee health and well-being. CRE can help corporations take health and safety standards a step further through facility and space design, incorporating greater ease and efficiency of operational processes, giving occupants control over some aspects of their environment, and providing ergonomic elements."
In addition, Rajeev Thakur, a location strategy consultant with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, sees companies using their choice of location as a projection of their values. Many international firms with whom he works have chosen one city over another based on its green policies, friendliness to bikes and pedestrians, and use of electricity.
CSR may also be used as a tool to attract and retain talent; as millennials and other workers place increasing value on a company's external profile. As such, company-led initiatives such as charity walks and fundraisers have been on the rise in recent years, and in many office photos from recent events are prominently displayed where clients and job prospects can see them.
"We are seeing CRE groups taking on redevelopment of existing neighborhoods in cities and working hand-in-hand with organizations who wish to create a workplace that benefits both their employees and the larger community," Conklin said.
According to the report, this trend is growing. "In the next decade, corporate social responsibility may take new forms and pursue new initiatives in areas like fair labor practices, sustainable land use, air and water quality, the rights of indigenous people, and other areas perhaps not yet imagined. It is clear, however, that a corporate commitment to social responsibility is here to stay, and will likely only grow over time as today's young professionals move into positions of leadership."
About CoreNet Global
CoreNet Global is the world's leading professional association for corporate real estate (CRE) and workplace executives, service providers and economic developers. CoreNet Global's 10,000 members, who include 70% of the top 100 U.S. companies and nearly half of the Global 2000, meet locally, globally and virtually to develop networks, share knowledge, learn and thrive professionally. For more information, please visit www.corenetglobal.org.