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A Business Case for CSR, Even During Hard Times

By Oliver Subasinghe01 May 2009

Greg Allgood, director of Procter & Gamble's Children's Safe Drinking Water program, visits a school in Robin, Haiti, where his company distributes its water purification powder PUR. Photo by: Procter & Gamble

In number and in scale, socially conscious business initiatives have been on the rise over the past few years. But can they contribute to a company's bottom line? For Procter & Gamble, the answer is a resounding "yes."

The U.S. consumer goods manufacturer is expanding its corporate social responsibility initiatives despite the recent economic downturn.

In one of P&G's key initiatives, for instance, the company and its partners distribute PUR for free in the developing world. One sachet of this water purification powder can make 10 liters of bacteria-infested water safe to drink. Greg Allgood, director of P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water program, says that more than 1 billion liters of water have already been treated with PUR packets.

For P&G and many other companies, CSR initiatives are not just driven by a sense of altruism, but they are a way to attract top recruits, enter developing markets and retain customer loyalty. Allgood, who led the team that invented PUR nearly a decade ago, spoke with Devex about the business case for CSR initiatives even during an economic downturn as well as P&G's plans to expand its initiatives and win more partners.

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About the author

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Oliver Subasinghe

Oliver joined Devex in late 2008 as an international development correspondent and researcher. He previously served as a microfinance fellow for Kiva in Kenya and Uganda. During his tenure, he worked with Kiva’s field partners to improve their operations and governance. Oliver holds a master's in business from the College of William & Mary.


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