Business and society are interdependent. The wellbeing of one depends on the wellbeing on the other. Companies engaged in CSR are reporting benefits to their reputation and their bottom line. We cannot build the case for CSR solely because of its economic benefits - an ethical case must be made for companies taking responsibility for the impact of their relations with society and the environment, otherwise the foundations of CSR will be far too narrow. However, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly significant category by which a company's reputation is evaluated. A variety of social and environmental issues across a broad spectrum of industries have recently been covered in the media - all of which directly affect a company's reputation and all of which can be considered part of the larger CSR equation. Whether CSR is considered merely the latest trend in business management or whether it is laying the foundation for a newly advanced way of doing business, a brief overview of recent business news and corporate communications shows that CSR is certainly a relevant factor for how a company positions itself in the marketplace.
There is no universally agreed statement of just what CSR means and implies, and ideas on the subject are still developing. All the same, a common body of policy has now taken shape and won general approval among those who favors the approach.
According to this way of thinking, a combination of recent changes on the world scene and pressures from public opinion now requires businesses to take on a new role, a newly defined mission. They should play a leading part in achieving the shared objectives of public policy and making the world a better place. In doing so, they should embrace the notion of 'corporate citizenship'. They should run their affairs, in close conjunction with a group of different 'stakeholders', to pursue the common goal of 'sustainable development'. Sustainable development is said to have three dimensions-'economic', 'environmental' and 'social'. Hence, companies should set objectives, measure their performance, and have that performance independently audited, in relation to all three. They should aim to meet the 'triple bottom line', rather than focusing narrowly on profitability and shareholder value.
All this applies to privately owned businesses in general and in particular to large multinational enterprises. Only by acting in this way can companies respond to 'society's expectations'. Making such a positive response is presented as the key to long-run commercial success for individual corporations in today's world. This is because profits depend on reputation, which in turn depends increasingly on being seen to act in a socially responsible way. Thus taking the path of CSR will in fact be good for enterprise profitability: it will bring and sustain support and custom from outside the firm, and make for greater loyalty and keenness from its employees. To embrace corporate citizenship represents enlightened self-interest on the part of business.
There is also a wider dimension, going beyond the individual corporation. The adoption of CSR by businesses generally is seen as necessary to ensure continuing public support for the private enterprise system as a whole.
Corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is necessarily an evolving term that does not have a standard definition or a fully recognized set of specific criteria. With the understanding that businesses play a key role on job and wealth creation in society, CSR is generally understood to be the way a company achieves a balance or integration of economic, environmental and social imperatives while at the same time addressing shareholder and stakeholder expectations. CSR is generally accepted as applying to firms wherever they operate in the domestic and global economy. The way businesses engage/involve the shareholders, employees,...