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 8: Putting Corporate Social Responsibility into Practice for Business

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


BACK TO BASICS Every company, like it or not, has a CSR policy. The first issue is whether they recognise the fact, and the second is how far they are alert to changes in what society expects of them in this field. – Sir Adrian Cadbury, architect of the UK Cadbury Report on corporate governance reforms1 (E)ven if . . . companies first discovered CSR the hard way, by suffering a knock to their reputation, many now see it as more than just a tool of risk management; they are convinced that it can be a competitive advantage and a source of growth in its own right. – The Economist’s 2008 special report on corporate social responsibility2 It is impossible for managers to sidestep corporate social responsibility (CSR). – Wharton Business School’s Professor Tom Donaldson3 Putting CSR into practice for business is much more complex than following a ‘one size fits all’ CSR instruction manual on business–society engagement. The ‘how’ of CSR is integrally connected to the ‘why’ of CSR. The conventional normative justification of what is commonly called ‘the business case for CSR’ is now matched by increasingly sophisticated guidance on how to align CSR to a company’s unique business model, competitive positioning and marketplace advantage, with suitable corporate governance arrangements to match.4 Moreover, companies must at least develop and articulate a comprehensible normative account of their company-specific commitment to CSR. At the very least, they must do so for the purposes of engaging in dialogue with investors and other stakeholders about CSR...

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