Corporate Social Responsibility is dangerous for the long-term survival of a company as it diverts attention from what companies should be doing, namely to make profit for its owners." Do you agree Please provide examples alongside your reasons.
Corporations are facing more and more pressure to answer consumer fears about how the markets impact upon society and the environment…
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a phrase used regularly by companies when they attempt to assure people of their ethical intentions. The EU's report on 'Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs' defines CSR as:
Consumer concerns about ethical treatment of the poor and exploitation of the Third World have made the promotion of social and ethical statements in business procedures essential. However, many in the consumer movement now feel that CSR is a sham, and a corporate PR exercise designed to whitewash the continuing exploitation of the vulnerable and poor.
The question this essay attempts to argue concerns how compatible CSR is with the traditional role of companies, which is to make money for their shareholders. The issue of Corporate Social responsibility seems to be between those who feel that companies are part of society, and others who are more inclined to concur with Milton Friedman's belief that the only social responsibility that a business has is to its shareholders: "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits" (Friedman, 1970). By looking firstly at how government has supported the CSR movement, then at the positive elements of CSR, with reference to increasing profits and 'Social profit', and finally at the opposition to CSR from both businesses and consumer movements, this essay hopes to establish whether Corporate Social Responsibility interferes with the ability of companies to make a profit, or whether it is a recognition of a larger social movement to improve the values and ethics of society.
Recently, Both the Commission to the European Union parliament and the British Government issued reports on the growing use of CSR amongst companies. The issues centred around how the EU and the UK were going to manage the rising demands for more ethical business practices. The first report by the Commission observed that CSR was
Not a panacea.but they can contribute to a number of
public policy objectives, such as
Integrated labour markets
Investment in Skills developmentand employability
Improvements in public health
More rational use of natural resources
[and] greater respect for human rights, environmental
protection, and core labour standards. (Commission, 6)
This is clearly expecting a lot from corporations, and does seem outside their responsibilities. Companies might consider that investments in learning and in public health might be better off in the hands of public bodies such as national governments. Responsibility for the health and welfare of a country's citizens should be assumed by the ruling body; to put some of that responsibility into the hands of markets and similar foundations is surely against the interests of the society:
Corporate Social Responsibility has important implications
forthe public authorities, who should take them into account
when determining their own actions. (European Commission, 6)
This attitude is very worrying, as it seems to promote the idea that ...
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an essential facet of the business world in the last eighty years. As early, as the 1930’s idea of the social responsibility of organisations has already been alluded and discussed by some practitioners (Hemingway, 2002).
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