Toronto – Being socially responsible is not only the right thing to do, it translates into good business, said Paul Tsaparis, president and CEO, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co.

And that corporate responsibility can become a competitive advantage is often overlooked, said Tsaparis in a lunch-time

speech Monday at a Canadian Club meeting in downtown Toronto.

“Canada is not immune to the challenges that have plagued other nations. We have had our share of corporate and government scandals that have been both visible and concerning,” said Tsaparis.

At the same time, Canada has strong social values that can turn into our industry-leading attitudes and approaches into a global competitive advantage.

These challenges come at a time when research indicates Canadians’ expectations for corporate responsibility have never been higher, he added.

Tsaparis referred to a Globescan/HP survey, released last week, indicating that more than 92 per cent of Canadians say that the more socially and environmentally responsible a company is, the more likely they are to purchase its products or services.

“For example, last year alone, 40 per cent of Canadians surveyed reported punishing corporations by not purchasing their products or speaking critically about them because they felt those companies were not acting in a socially responsible manner.”

Also, according to the survey, 91 per cent of Canadians say that they prefer to work for a company that is socially and environmentally responsible.

Tsaparis offered himself as an example. After graduating from university in 1984, he had the opportunity to join two different companies but chose HP based on a conversation with a friend of a friend.

”The values, the passion and the uniqueness of HP that he communicated that day were the single biggest reason I joined,” said Tsaparis, who became president and CEO of HP Canada in 1998.

Tsaparis’ comments seemed to resonate with those in attendance at the speech made at a downtown Toronto hotel.

Gary Davenport, CIO, Hudson’s Bay Co. said that whether “a vendor has values weighs very strongly in any decision to buy products from that vendor,” and that guidelines are in place to enforce this practice.

Michael O’Neil, managing director of research firm IDC Canada said, “I don’t think they (vendors) have a choice (but to embrace corporate social responsibility.)

“IT buyers live in the community, and they care, and they will look for the same kind of values in their vendors.”

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