Corporate Social Responsibility

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What is CSR? To what extent is there a business case for CSR? A. What is CSR?
Competition is becoming more and more fierce while the market is becoming globalization. With higher consumer sovereignty, customers are no longer satisfied with qualify products and good services. The society concerned more about the business ethic and environmental issues. Companies are expected to act virtuously nowadays. The ideas of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship are spreading faster than ever before and become one of the hottest business models in the recent decades. “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” is defined as “the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life” at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2000. The main idea of CSR is that corporations should be responsible to the stakeholders which include the customers, shareholders, suppliers, employees or any other party that may be influenced by the corporate actions. Different organizations may have formed different social responsible programs which can be categorized in four major components: the environment, the community, the work place and the market place. Different companies will emphasize on different aspects to create the social responsible programs. “Particular CSR initiatives may do good, or harm, or make no difference one way or the other, but it is important to resist the success of the CSR idea. “ (Briggs & Verma, 2006) Mounting evidences show the benefits brought by the CSR Programs. For example, corporations made huge donation to disasters nationwide and to the bottom billions. However, not every CSR Program can be built up successfully. Nestlé had suffered from a boycott last over 30 years which is the result from its failed CSR Program. Known as the baby killer, Nestlé is blamed to kill thousands of Babies in the less developed region. They promoted and distributed free instant formula milk powder to replace breastfeeding and led to severe health problems or even death to the babies (Sethi, 1979). The two opposite results of CSR programs bring up queries for CSR programs. Is there a business case for CSR? How can corporations be benefitted from CSR? Theses questions will be discussed in this essay and so as the answers. B. Is there a business case for CSR?

“Corporations are expected to be good citizens” asserted by Briggs and Verma (2006). Customers are demanding more from the corporations. Responsible corporates are required to meet the “Triple Bottom Lines” which are the economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social sustainability. Join Elington illustrate the interrelationship of the triple bottom line in 1997, “Society depends on the economy – and the economy depends on the global ecosystem, whose health represents the ultimate bottom line” (Elkington, 1997). CSR programs can also help the company to achieve sustainable growth which is the ultimate goal for every CSR program. Sustainable development is development to satisfy the needs of present generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to development (WCED, 1987). Study indicates that sustainable growth and business success cannot be achieved solely by maximising short-term profits, but instead through market-oriented and social responsible programs (Neal, 2006). The CSR programs may engage with the following four aspects: the environment, the community, the workplace and the market place (World Business Council, 2000). As the foundation of every human being in the earth, responsible to environment is an essential part of CSR programs. Learnt from the Industrial Revolution when people sacrifice environment for business growth, private organizations today have worked to improve the environment. For example, Toyota has developed the hybrid card models which can use both fuel...
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