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Julia J.A. Shaw

Although many stakeholder perspectives are concerned with the moral responsibility of business in relation to creating social benefits, evidence suggests that there is a lack of consensus on the nature of those responsibilities that ought to be assumed by companies in a given society. In the context of almost daily reports of unfair or discriminatory business practices and a growing number of social and environmental scandals, particularly those relating to the financial sector, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are too often arbitrary and only serve to justify the deeper extension of market forces into an already imploding social body. This chapter uses a phenomenological methodology to investigate what is necessary to achieve a consensus on identifying fair, right and just actions in a modern globalized corporate environment, by exploring the procedural ethical approaches of neo-Kantians, John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas. Their articulation of a moral framework of intersubjective principles of right and fairness is used to explore the possibility of establishing a minimum standard of fair and just practice, which is capable of extending to all stakeholders as a benchmark or even prerequisite for best CSR practice.