U.S. Companies Lead Europe in Corporate Social Responsibility Data Integration

Majority of enterprises plan to leverage technology to manage CSR initiatives within two years

Boston — March 5, 2007 — A majority of U.S. and European companies plan to leverage technology to manage their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives within the next two years, but while environmental issues are of prime importance in Europe, U.S. firms seem to be ahead in the integration of CSR-related data systems, according to a new AMR Research survey.

Writing in a recent AMR alert, analysts Nigel Montgomery and Derek Prior report that within the next two years, 89 percent of companies in the United States and 62 percent in Europe plan to use technology to manage their CSR initiatives.

"Currently, 47 percent of European companies either gain no CSR-related data from IT systems or have numerous disconnected systems; compare this to just 19 percent in the same position in the United States," the analysts write. "Nearly half of U.S. companies (49 percent) claim to have some or fully integrated systems to provide information on CSR topics; 32 percent claim to have just started the integration process. Just 17 percent of European-based companies have fully integrated systems."

The AMR survey of 150 companies covered multiple industries in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. The results indicate that more than two-thirds of companies (70 percent) have a dedicated budget for CSR initiatives, while 48 percent of companies have a dedicated budget for environmental initiatives.

European companies spend more of their CSR budgets on environmental initiatives, AMR reports. The survey also revealed that midsize companies, with annual revenues below $100 million, were dedicating about as much to these initiatives as companies with more than $5 billion in revenues.

AMR found that fewer than one-third of the respondents are using their enterprise resource planning systems. "Yet because they are integrated and enterprise-wide, ERP systems should form the foundation for managing to environmental and social business objectives," the analysts write. "The challenge is often that these systems can help collect historical data, but they aren't very good at helping companies be proactive, monitoring changes in real-time and helping operatives reduce poor decisions that create more waste of environmental impact."

In the survey, AMR also addresses the main business reasons for undertaking this type of initiative, functional ownership of the initiatives and the types of technologies that companies are looking to use in pursuing this type of initiative.

More information on the survey is available on the AMR Web site at http://www.amrresearch.com/Content/View.asp?pmillid=20254.