Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and national or international norms. With some models, a firm’s implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and statutory requirements, which engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law”. The binary choice between ‘complying’ with the law and ‘going beyond’ the law must be qualified with some nuance. In many areas such as environmental or labor regulations, employers can choose to comply with the law, to go beyond the law, but they can also choose to not comply with the law, such as when they deliberately ignore gender equality or the mandate to hire disabled workers. There must be a recognition that many so-called ‘hard’ laws are also ‘weak’ laws, weak in the sense that they are poorly enforced, with no or little control and/or no or few sanctions in case of non-compliance. ‘Weak’ law must not be confused with soft law. The aim is to increase long-term profits and shareholder trust through positive public relations and high ethical standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.
Proponents argue that corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from businesses’ economic role. A 2000 study compared existing econometric studies of the relationship between social and financial performance, concluding that the contradictory results of previous studies reporting positive, negative, and neutral financial impact, were due to flawed empirical analysis and claimed when the study is properly specified, CSR has a neutral impact on financial outcomes.
Critics questioned the “lofty” and sometimes “unrealistic expectations” in CSR. or that CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations.
Political sociologists became interested in CSR in the context of theories of globalization, neoliberalism and late capitalism. Some sociologists viewed CSR as a form of capitalist legitimacy and in particular point out that what began as a social movement against uninhibited corporate power was transformed by corporations into a ‘business model’ and a ‘risk management’ device, often with questionable results.
CSR is titled to aid an organization’s mission as well as serve as a guide to what the company represents for its consumers. Business ethics is the part of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles, but with no formal act of legislation.