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Trends Impacting Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental, Social and Governance Professionals

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ACCP and YourCause from Blackbaud surveyed the corporate social impact field to better understand the trends impacting corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) professionals. Many hotel companies have at least one CSR/ESG professional and in some cases an entire team. The survey was conducted in April of 2023 and garnered responses from 149 companies representing more than $1B in community investment.

The survey results show a profession experiencing continued instability and change, which may hinder its ability to successfully maintain momentum toward the goals of positively impacting society and meeting key stakeholder expectations.

Most survey respondents (86 percent) indicated their team had more responsibilities in the past year, a 6 percent increase from one year ago when an already high 80 percent said that demands on their team had increased. Further, 58 percent indicated they need more resources to meet these expectations. This ongoing trend comes with real consequences. Impacts cited included longer hours (61 percent), burnout (50 percent), fear of not meeting expectations (46 percent), and mental health concerns (19 percent). Company executives, sometimes not as well-versed in the specifics of CSR and ESG work, must understand these consequences, particularly in a tight labor market, the survey report said.

Most respondents (60 percent) work on a team of five or fewer people. Not surprisingly, the resources cited as most needed are more headcount (67 percent), more financial resources to invest in community and priority issues (54 percent), and more focus or buy-in from executive leadership (46 percent). Insufficient headcount has been a consistent theme for the last several years. CSR teams have yet to see meaningful growth in size despite the increased relevance of the function to corporations and the significant percentages of companies that have increased their investment in communities since the recent pandemic.

The survey found that the corporate social impact profession is predominantly comprised of white women, reinforcing data collected in ACCP’s 2021 Advancing Equity in the Corporate Social Impact Profession study. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents indicated they worked on a team where fewer than 50 percent of teammates were people of color. However, the data suggests that there may be some progress in the overall diversity of CSR teams over the past two years, as the percentage of companies that reported less than 25 percent of their teammates were people of color declined by 9 percent from 2021 (35 percent) to 2023 (26 percent). The percentage that reported 25 to 49 percent of their teammates were BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) increased by 14 percent from 2021 (23 percent) to 2023 (37 percent). However, the prevalence of teams with no BIPOC staff stubbornly remains, as 24 percent of survey respondents cited they work on all-white teams—a slight decrease over the 26 percent of all-white teams reported in 2021.

To read the entire survey results, click here.

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