International Trademark Association Report Highlights Brands’ Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

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Commitment to corporate social responsibility initiatives is high among members of the International Trademark Association, with organizations overwhelmingly recognizing that it is their social obligation to positively impact global issues and give back to the community.

Commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives is generally high among members of the International Trademark Association (INTA), with organizations overwhelmingly recognizing that it is their social obligation to positively impact global issues and give back to the community, and that these efforts—when made public—can contribute to brand value and brand loyalty, according to the results of a new report released today by INTA.

At the same time, the report concludes that “many brands that engage in CSR have not yet effectively leveraged the full potential benefit of CSR policies and activities for their brands.” It notes that INTA, as the leading brand protection organization, is situated to educate brands about the benefits of such programs. The Association recently established a Brands for a Better Society Committee to act on the report’s findings and further advance CSR initiatives.

The “Brands and CSR Survey Report” was undertaken by INTA’s 2019 Presidential Task Force, dedicated to “Brands for a Better Society” in light of current global challenges and the changing economic landscape. The report includes findings from a survey of 227 INTA members worldwide, including corporations, law firms, and small and medium enterprises, as well as third-party research.

More than half of the respondents (62.39%) confirmed that their organizations either have a CSR policy and/or are engaged in activities targeting the improvement of society, the environment, labor practices, equality, or other such issues. In addition, more than 88 percent of law firms and service firms reported providing pro bono services.

Moreover, 84 percent of respondents agreed that CSR policies and adopting sustainability principles as an operational priority “constitutes good economic practice and will benefit a company and/or brand.” About half said CSR impacts their companies’ overall branding strategies. Further, 57.98 percent agreed that the absence of CSR policies and practices puts companies and brands at a disadvantage in the market.

“We know that consumers increasingly want brands to be good corporate citizens, and, as such, CSR initiatives present enormous potential to garner consumer loyalty and trust, and bolster relationships,” said 2019 INTA President David Lossignol, who spearheaded the creation of the Task Force. “But the benefits are so much more far-reaching and universal: the lasting footprint that these efforts can have to better society is tremendous.”

According to the report, while organizations recognize the economic and reputational benefits of CSR, not all widely publicize their efforts. Only about 60 percent of respondents report that CSR policies are part of their companies’ mission statements and public-facing communications.

INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo noted: “It is heartening to see that brands in all sectors and in all parts of the world are stepping up to do their share. There is more brands can do—and no doubt will do—to effect change especially at a time such as now when major global issues are impacting and challenging our society like never before. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, individuals, society, and brands should reflect even more on how they can contribute to better society today and do their best to reshape the world for future generations.”

As an organization, INTA is committed to CSR within the scope of its mission. CSR is woven into the Association’s strategic plan, educational offerings, and other initiatives. Among them, in 2019, INTA issued an Unreal Challenge, asking members to participate, as one of their CSR activities, in the Association’s campaign to educate young consumers about the dangers of counterfeit products. This year, the Association has called on the INTA community to support charity: water, a nonprofit organization, and its mission to provide clean water to people in developing countries; and, earlier this month, INTA announced “The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative” to foster the development of strong leadership skills for women in the intellectual property field and address issues of diversity and inclusion.

About the International Trademark Association
The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and related intellectual property (IP) to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation. Members include more than 7,200 trademark owners, professionals, and academics from 187 countries, who benefit from the Association’s global trademark resources, policy development, education and training, and international network. Founded in 1878, INTA is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Singapore, and Washington, D.C., and representatives in Geneva and New Delhi. For more information, visit inta.org.

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Jean-Claude Darné
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