Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Chapter 1 Introduction
Corporate Social Responsibility is a rapidly developing, key business issue. It is a concept that has attracted worldwide attention. Due to the demands for enhanced transparency and corporate citizenship, CSR started to embrace social, ethical as well as environmental challenges. Today, companies are aware of the social and environmental impacts of international production. It is accepted that Companies should not be only profitable, but also good corporate citizens. Through globalization of the economy, multinational companies are increasingly involved with suppliers and customers worldwide, especially if they operate in developing countries. The CSR agenda has a close relationship with international development. CSR within multinational companies is seen as a vehicle through which larger, well known corporations can contribute to the well being of developing countries by operating responsibly in terms of social and environmental issues. However, the promoted "CSR" in the developing world by multinationals is "not real CSR", despite significant contribution to development in some cases. Very little is known about the companies' CSR policies and practices in an international context, developing countries in particular. As reality shows, most of the larger corporations abuse the CSR and behave unethically and irresponsibly towards both society and the environment. Issues such as unsafe working conditions, unfair payment, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, toxic emissions and the hazardous pollution of water and soil have all raised fair allegations by consumers, non-governmental organizations and the larger society. . Famous global brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, GAP and McDonalds are often under intense pressure from the public. Much of those pressures are due to their unethical behaviour in developing countries, where their main operations take place. Though companies operate in host countries, their reputation extends across numerous national boundaries. The actions of multinational companies in a host country can cause significant loss of reputation in the developed world, where the general public have become more sensitive to environmental issues and social impact. The public have the power to boycott the goods and products of multinational corporations in cases of unethical behaviour where organisations are thought not to fulfil their social and environmental obligations. However, international reputation side effects are not the only reason behind the potential increased level of social and environmental responsibilities faced by multinational companies; there are many drivers for the correct implementation of CSR by business entities. However, for many companies, corporate reputation and brand image are the fundamental components of business success. Corporate Social Responsibility in developing countries represents the formal and informal ways in which multinational business enterprises contribute to improving the social, ethical and environmental conditions of the developing countries in which they operate. However, the rational approach to the CSR in the developing world is different from CSR in developed countries. For example, developing countries represent the ongoing growth of the economy; hence the most attractive growth markets for many foreign companies. They provide cheap labour, an absence of strong regulations and a rich availability of resources; all crucial concerns for multinational enterprises for conducting their businesses in developing world. It has been found that the public and the government are not as critical of unethical business practices within foreign companies. In addition, developing countries are where globalization, economic growth, investments and business activities are likely to have both positive and negative social and environmental impacts. Therefore, developing countries represent a different set of CSR agenda...
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