Overview of Corporate Social Responsiblity

A variety of terms are used – sometimes interchangeably — to talk about corporate social responsibility (CSR): business ethics, corporate citizenship, corporate accountability, sustainability. BSR defines corporate social responsibility as “achieving commercial success in ways that honor ethical values and respect people, communities, and the natural environment.” We also say that CSR means addressing the legal, ethical, commercial and other expectations society has for business, and making decisions that fairly balance the claims of all key stakeholders. In its simplest terms it is: “what you do, how you do it, and when and what you say.”

The field of corporate social responsibility has grown exponentially in the last decade. More companies than ever before are engaged in serious efforts to define and integrate CSR into all aspects of their business, with their experiences being bolstered by a growing body of evidence that CSR has a positive impact on business economic performance. New voluntary CSR standards and performance measurement tools continue to proliferate amidst the ongoing debate about whether and how to formalize legal CSR requirements for companies. Stakeholders — including shareholders, analysts, regulators, activists, labor unions, employees, community organizations, and the news media — are asking companies to be accountable not only for their own performance but for the performance of their entire supply chain, and for an ever-changing set of CSR issues. All of this is taking place against the backdrop an ever more complex global economy with continuing economic, social and environmental inequities.

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