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Corporate social responsibility

Form of corporate self-regulation aimed at contributing to social or charitable goals / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Social Impact is a form of international private business self-regulation[1] which aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in, with, or supporting professional service volunteering through pro bono programs, community development, administering monetary grants to non-profit organizations for the public benefit, or to conduct ethically oriented business and investment practices.[2][3] While once it was possible to describe CSR as an internal organizational policy or a corporate ethic strategy[4] similar to what is now known today as Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG); that time has passed as various companies have pledged to go beyond that or have been mandated or incentivized by governments to have a better impact on the surrounding community. In addition national and international standards, laws, and business models have been developed to facilitate and incentivize this phenomenon. Various organizations have used their authority to push it beyond individual or even industry-wide initiatives. In contrast, it has been considered a form of corporate self-regulation[5] for some time, over the last decade or so it has moved considerably from voluntary decisions at the level of individual organizations to mandatory schemes at regional, national, and international levels. Moreover, scholars and firms are using the term "creating shared value", an extension of corporate social responsibility, to explain ways of doing business in a socially responsible way while making profits (see the detailed review article of Menghwar and Daood, 2021).[6]

Employees of a leasing firm taking time off their regular jobs to build a house for Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit that builds homes for needy families using volunteers.

Considered at the organisational level, CSR is generally understood as a strategic initiative that contributes to a brand's reputation.[7] As such, social responsibility initiatives must coherently align with and be integrated into a business model to be successful. With some models, a firm's implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance with regulatory requirements and engages in "actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law".[8]

Furthermore, businesses may engage in CSR for strategic or ethical purposes. From a strategic perspective, CSR can contribute to firm profits, particularly if brands voluntarily self-report both the positive and negative outcomes of their endeavors.[9] In part, these benefits accrue by increasing 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.[10] From an ethical perspective, some businesses will adopt CSR policies and practices because of the ethical beliefs of senior management: for example, the CEO of outdoor-apparel company Patagonia, Inc. argues that harming the environment is ethically objectionable.[11]

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.[12] Critics[13][14] questioned the "lofty" and sometimes "unrealistic expectations" in CSR.[15] or that CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations. In line with this critical perspective, political and sociological institutionalists became interested in CSR in the context of theories of globalization, neoliberalism, and late capitalism.