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Corporate Social Responsibility

Perspectives for Sustainable Corporate Governance

Catherine Malecki

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is setting new missions for companies and shining a welcome light on issues such as the behaviour of board members, shared value, the well-being of stakeholders, the protection of vulnerable individuals and the roles played by public opinion and shareholders. This timely book seeks to lay the foundations for a sustainable corporate governance based on the European Commission definition of CSR as ‘the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’. More generally, this sustainable corporate governance responds to some of the pressing challenges of the 21st century, from sustainable finance and climate change to carbon reduction and population growth.
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Chapter 12: Reputation

Perspectives for Sustainable Corporate Governance

Catherine Malecki

Extract

CSR increases reputational risk inasmuch as it is supposed to improve a company’s image. In the field of management science, many studies have been devoted to the subject of corporate reputation, particularly in the United Kingdom and United States. It can be described as a collective opinion formed on the basis of perceptions or a series of perceptions by all stakeholders. Since 2012, the French financial markets regulator (AMF) has taken to naming and shaming in its annual reports on corporate governance in listed companies. There is a general movement towards using public opinion in corporate governance. For better or worse, CSR condemns such reputational risk, which could give rise to “corporate e-governance” or “sustainable corporate governance 2.0”. However, when viewed in a positive light, such reputational risk could also be seen as a way for those involved in corporate governance (board members) to correct their own behaviour. From a more negative perspective, it could equally wreak havoc, hence the need for a measured application of the right to be forgotten. Stakeholders have particular influence over reputational risk insofar as “societal” concerns naturally impact upon public opinion.

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