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Bohnen Introduces CPR Concept at the BP Lunch Talk

As part of the BP Lunch talk series, External Affairs Director Germany Dr. Ruprecht Brandis hosted a discussion on the Corporate Political Responsibility (CPR) concept on June 1, 2021.

Dr. Johannes Bohnen presented in an opening speech the central thesis of his work, which has been published in German and English: Politically sustainable management is a business case. To operate successfully, companies must invest in the social and political framework. Democracy must be strengthened to ensure that companies have the leeway they need for long-term prosperity.

The private sector has something to offer as a central stakeholder in the public sphere. Through targeted public affairs work, companies can fine-tune their sociopolitical stance and develop a political brand.

Bohnen's impulses were then discussed in an engaging debate. BASF Vice President of Corporate Governance Relations Christian Schubert considered Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to be primarily marketing, while CPR still fell short. The umbrella term should be Corporate Responsibility (CR), he said, since the first point of reference for companies is always society, not politics. In contrast, Bohnen emphasized that the concept of society would be interpreted too broadly in this case, which would make it difficult to define hard criteria. The political, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of conflicting interests and the need to negotiate between them. While CPR is not more inclusive than CR, the concept is more precise. It takes conflicts seriously as such and makes them solvable. It is important not to confuse political stance with party politics.

Birgit Riess, Director "Program Companies in Society" of the Bertelsmann Foundation, emphasized the delegation of responsibility to associations. However, companies are missing an opportunity here for brand profiling and differentiation in competition. Clear identification with corporate faces increases credibility in the public perception.

Within 60 minutes, the specific perspectives and fields of application of sustainable political responsibility were the subject of lively discussion. The high-ranking group of participants saw CPR as an identity-forming that could be strategically integrated into the brand.

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