Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business

Bryan Horrigan

Professor Bryan Horrigan spans subjects as diverse and topical as global corporate responsibility and governance debates, practical guidelines for responsible businesses and their professional advisers, governmental roles in corporate social responsibility, corporations and human rights, and the new era of ‘enlightened shareholder value’. He also highlights an emerging transnational and comparative body of law, regulation, and practice on corporate social responsibility. Illustrated throughout with meaningful controversies and examples, the book also highlights the major recent global developments in corporate social responsibility already this century, focusing especially on Europe, the UK, North America, and Australasia, and charting its future regulatory and research directions worldwide.

Chapter 1: Corporate Social Responsibility’s Contemporary Global Context

Bryan Horrigan

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, law - academic, corporate law and governance, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY We are All Corporate Social Responsibility Actors Now ‘Globalisation’ is giving rise to a new political struggle, not between states and multinationals or, necessarily, between North and South, but between ‘people and corporations’. – Corporate social responsibility lawyer and consultant, Dr Jennifer Zerk1 ‘In a globalised market economy, CSR is part of modern business.’ – Wharton Business School’s Professor Tom Donaldson2 Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of the most important issues and developments of the 21st century. This is because the world of the 21st century faces problems for which CSR is part of the answer. So, it is not surprising to see CSR achieving dominance as a global issue, alongside other shared governance and regulatory challenges such as climate change, sustainable development, human rights universalization, poverty eradication and socio-economic prosperity. As developments as ostensibly diverse as climate change, global economic crises, borderless trade and humanitarian disasters starkly demonstrate, we live in a world of interdependent economies, populations and ecosystems, where what corporations do matters to their shareholders, society and the world at large. The world’s response to CSR at these early stages of the 21st century will play a significant part in determining the shape and fate of the world for generations to come. Is CSR a passing social fad, an idea whose time has come, a threat to market capitalism, an intrinsic element of corporate responsibility, or even a key to humanity’s long-term survival in properly managing shared global challenges? The story...

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