Debates, Models and Practices Across Government, Law and Business
Chapter 8: Putting Corporate Social Responsibility into Practice for Business
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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