In today’s business world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an essential element for all corporations. Business around the world are progressively applying CSR, believing that it will be able to bring them competitive advantage and sustainability.
Before we progress into our discussion, we will have to define the meaning of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the pyramid of corporate social responsibility. One of the most important elements of corporate social responsibility, Stakeholder Theory, will also be discussed. Defining sustainability and the guidelines to it will also be discussed in the essay. Last but not least, we will also be discussing about future sustainability models and a case study that has incorporated corporate social responsibility to make their business operation more sustainable will be discussed.
An infinite number of definitions of CSR exist, going across from the simplistic to the complex, and a range of associated terms and ideas, including corporate sustainability, corporate governance, the triple bottom line and business sustainability. The terminology itself has changed over the course of time has also suggest that the meaning attributed to concepts such as CSR will continue to evolve in synch with business, political and social developments around the world.
Carroll (1999) evaluated the definition of CSR and concluded with this definition, “The social responsibility of business encompasses the economic, legal, ethical and discretionary expectations that a society has of organizations at a given point in time. He started examining in the 1950s’ about social responsibility and described Howard Bowen as the modern ‘Father of Corporate Social Responsibility’ and strongly believed that his work would mark the beginning of the revolution of CSR. (Carroll 1999, p. 270) CSR has constantly progressed throughout the 1950s to our current time.
There have been various issues about CSR that has been highly-publicised such as the collapse of Enron, the James Hardie asbestos scandal in Australia. The debate about the role of CSR in the global world economy continues on, with authors such as Scherer and Smid emphasizing that multinational companies ‘should take responsibility for the improvement of world-wide social and environmental conditions’. (Scherer and Smid in Windsor 2001, p. 245) Windsor demonstrates the point further by investigating examples of Western oil production projects currently operating in a number of war-torn, impoverished African states that are noted for corruption and the severity of human rights abuse in those countries. James Buckee, the CEO of one of these oil companies, is quoted as saying that ‘it is socially responsible for a corporation to invest in certain places that some elements of popular opinion find objectionable’. (Buckee in Windsor 2001, p. 246) This clearly illustrates Windsor’s conclusion that ‘There are fundamental differences of opinions and values in the global economy’. (Windsor 2001, p. 246) In conclusion, CSR concepts remain as a crucial element for businesses today as it captures the relationship between businesses and society.
The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility has four key components which can be arranged into a pyramid form. Starting from the bottom up, the...