Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Performance

Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Performance

Theories and Evidence about Organizational Responsibility

Tobias Gössling

Does it pay for businesses to act morally? This book attempts to answer this question. Taking a positive approach, it demonstrates that, under certain conditions, organizations can act responsibly and profitably at the same time. It elaborates on these conditions and provides evidence for the assumed positive relation between responsibility and profitability.

Chapter 9: New Responsibilities

Tobias Gössling

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, organisation studies, environment, environmental management


Introduction The research in this volume has contributed to our understanding of CSR and its consequences, especially for organizations. It has also dealt with misunderstandings, misconceptions and myths around CSR. Nowadays, CSR is certainly not an issue of some idealistic anti-corporatists that try to dictate to managers how to run businesses. Also within organizations, CSR is not a niche phenomenon any more, a spare-time task for those who care a bit more about the environment and society. Organizational responsibility is high on the agenda of organizations that claim to be corporate citizens and that organize their activities according to legal and societal expectations, which includes having a compliance department which is responsible for organizational responsibility. For example, at present, 72% of the German top 50 companies employ a compliance department or a compliance officer (Gössling and Hoffman, 2011). Furthermore, also politics has, to a large extent, understood the meaning and importance of CSR, on the one hand, and the possibilities to stimulate CSR, on the other. Given the understanding of the relationship between the state, society and the corporate world, politics tends not to prescribe responsibility. However, politics can and does set incentives for organizations to be responsible. FSC wood, for example, is wood from sustainable forestry. It is slightly more expensive than wood from unsustainable logging. Dutch municipalities require FSC wood in public buildings, and, by doing so, softly enforce suppliers to adopt their sourcing in order to be able to provide certified wood. International organizations, in this...

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