With a strong focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR), Lars Pehrson
, CEO of Merkur Cooperative Bank
in Denmark, and a member of Development Crossing, was kind enough to share a few quick thoughts with us. A big thank you to Lars for taking the time out of his busy schedule...
1. Could you briefly explain your role and responsibilities within the organization?
2. What do you feel has driven the increased C-level focus on CSR initiatives in today’s business world?
I think it is (for some companies) a growing awareness of co-responsibility. For other companies it is fear to be left behind and get bad reputation.
3. What are the top three challenges facing you as a CSR executive over the next 12-18 months? Why?
To make our profile as social bank known to a wider public, because the financial crisis is a unique opportunity to show the strength of our approach to banking.
4. What role, if any, do you see corporations playing in poverty alleviation in the developing world? Any specific examples at your company?
Doing business with the in a fair way. Merkur Cooperative Bank is now launching a separate entity, Merkur Developing Loans Ltd, aiming to give loans at fair conditions to SME’s and cooperatives in developing countries.
5. What recent CSR initiative or project are you most proud of, and why? How have you measured its success?
We do not do specific CSR initiatives or mention initiatives as CSR. The societal approach in integrated in our business model right from the founding 26 years ago (when nobody spoke abut CSR)
6. Given the current economic climate, how do you see the role of CSR in corporate strategy adapting, if at all?
Only companies with a responsible societal approach will survive in the future!
7. Any additional thoughts?
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