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Reports 20 Jun 2007

Coming in from the Cold

Public affairs and corporate responsibility

By Seb Beloe and Julia Harrison

Coming in from the Cold, in collaboration with the public affairs agency Blueprint Partners and WWF-UK, explores the relationship between corporate responsibility activities and corporate public affairs, and in particular considers the interest and role investors may play in driving a more coherent and strategic approach between these two corporate functions.

Based on an investor survey covering more than $500 billion in assets, as well as a review of 50 leading corporate reports, the briefing suggests that the lack of coordination between public affairs and corporate responsibility represents a huge wasted opportunity to deliver greater value to individual companies and to society.

The report finds that investors are demanding greater clarity from companies on the ‘public affairs’ activities (defined as corporate activities or decisions intended to influence public policy) they are engaged in. 83% of investors surveyed claim their information needs in this regard are not currently being met. Two thirds of investors questioned actively consider the public affairs activities of companies when making investment decisions, driven by increased awareness of the importance of environmental, social and governance issues in protecting corporate reputation.

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