suggests that corporations have a duty to society to act in ways that benefit everyone and promotes social justice—to try to neuter the capitalist impulses that allow companies to be competitive and make profits. Nevertheless, many companies have done it to try to burnish their reputations in crowded marketplaces.
The truth is that there are many ways to go about instilling this kind of thinking within the company. Part of it can be external, with us investing in causes that we think are appropriate. Another way to do it is through values and codes of ethics.
Some say that spending money on CSR is a waste and that we should focus on improving profitability and returning money to our shareholders. That idea may be short-sighted. As one leading researcher recently wrote:
Opinion and research has been divided regarding the relationship between CSR and financial performance. On the one had, conventional wisdom would assume that CSR has been considered as a zero-sum tradeoff with profitability: more money spent on CSR means less spent on increasing market share, or re-investment. Conversely, academic thought has also suggested that those companies, who appear to be more responsible in the areas of environment and societal behavior, would more attractive for investors, and therefore perform better financially (Cavett-Goodwin 2007).
All of these are important considerations as we look at the pluses and minuses of this possible strategy in the next section. We must be mindful that CSR is not zero-sum, but that everyone can benefit from using it. It can do a lot of good for a great many people.
A question that has troubled many people since the dawn of time is how should a person lead a good, ethical life? Furthermore, how should a business behave in an ethical manner? There are as many theories as there are grains of sand on the beach, but a few ideas over the years have been more popular than others. Some people are born into religions where these questions are