BSR’s Aron Cramer: What’s changed since the meltdown?

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BSR’s Aron Cramer: What’s changed since the meltdown?

Marc Gunther, a veteran journalist, speaker, writer and consultant whose focus is business and sustainability, contributed this commentary to 3BL Media.
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BSR’s Aron Cramer: What’s changed since the meltdown?


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggersoffer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 12:18am


"This week’s guest post comes from Aron Cramer, the president and CEO of BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability. Aron’s a great guy, BSR’s an important organization, and its annual conference is a must for people like me who want to keep up with the goings-on in corporate responsibility. Aron’s worked closely with FORTUNE 500 companies  on issues ranging from climate change to labor rights in poor countries to Internet freedoms in China. Here, he looks back at the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing decline in the public’s trust in business and asks what, if anything, can be done to restore trust.

At the start of 2009, only 36 percent of the U.S. public trusted business to “do what is right”—down dramatically from 59 percent one year before—according to surveys from the PR firm Edelman. By July, trust levels in business had recovered somewhat, to 48 percent. This represents improvement, but only over last year’s  depths. So just as with the economic recovery overall, it is far too early to declare victory.

For business, this is about more than winning a popularity contest. Without the public’s trust, the business climate is harder. Companies face cynical consumers, unhappy employees, and public officials who tap into this mood with punitive legislation: hardly the conditions most companies want and need.

And judging by the still raging debate over executive pay, anger at corporate practices remains intense.


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Keywords: Budget | Consumers | Economy | Global Markets | Marc Gunther | PR | Recession | Trade | Wall Street | policy