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The Evolution of Web and CSR... A Tangled Story

From 1994 to 2012, both the Web and CSR have known a parallel evolution due to the growing importance of sustainability and corporate responsibility, and the development of new communication ways and technologies. As stakeholders have become more and more demanding about corporate ethics, the web technology has grown to match the need for companies to inform and interact with this precious audience. Discover the synergies between the evolution of Web and CSR throughout this infographic, which main points have been highlighted below.

1994: As the World Wide Web appears as a one-way, worldwide medium enabling content broadcasting online, Companies officially start using the web 1.0 as a window to manage their image.
It’s the era of the “read-only” content, also called “one-way communication”. No interaction was yet possible. Meanwhile, the first web browser appears to the world, enabling people to “search and find,” and Amazon launches its web-based retail store.

1998: As about 4% of the world’s population is finally online, and hotmail rules the email business with 8.5 million users, an ambitious start up called Google launches what was to become the ultimate internet search service. Meanwhile, organizations keep pushing content via the 20 million websites that appeared, and email.

2000: Goodbye to the Web 1.0, and welcome to the 2.0 upgrade. Throughout a new, exclusive collaborative technology, web users can generate content. As individuals can finally contribute, the notion of CSR as we know it, implying massive interaction with stakeholders, comes to life. By 2003, the first social media emerge and goes by the name of MySpace. Soon, “the line dividing consumer and content gets blurred…”

2007: By then, the web has evolved to close to some 100 million websites, and about 20% of the worldwide population is connected. It’s the era of the Web 3.0, or Semantic Web. Social networks become the new media of a whole generation. The new way people interact is carefully analyzed, user data becomes a precious, valuable item for search engines to capture, empowering companies - striving for “dynamic content to focus on user engagement, and real-time reporting” - to shift to individualized communication.

2011: The web has reached full efficiency, and 9 out of 10 Americans agree “technology can turn a cause into a movement faster than anything else”. With 33% of the world’s population online and the increased speed of information broadcasting and consumption, CSR becomes an inescapable, critical component for Businesses, something they must apply to in order to prosper. Social networks like Facebook & Twitter help spread the green word, and provides the first tailored network for sustainability professionals…

Thanks to the evolution of the web, the importance of integrating CSR components to companies’ strategy has evolved from occasional to mandatory. Each web user now is a watchdog, putting pressure on companies to remain responsible in their business. Big corps all have a CSR dedicated department, and a moral obligation to publish CSR reports with good figures. Yet, some companies still manage to greenwash their business…

According to you, what are the next steps necessary to ensure global compliance? Has the web another role to play in the implementation of CSR, or is it as far as it can go? What evolutions do you see to it? Share your thoughts on the topic with us!

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