Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporations can have an enormous impact on the environment. Their production processes utilise scarce resources, may release harmful pollutants into the environment and damage local ecosystems. Unethical behaviour may also have negative impacts on the welfare of their workforce and the wider society. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) are practices in which businesses are involved in initiatives that benefit the environment and society, contributing to economic development, while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, as well as of the wider community (WBCfSD, 1999). Although this is often considered good practice in terms of the environment and society, it is also increasingly being recognised as vital for business success. CSR is, however, a relative new concept and more research is needed to develop approaches and to help ensure the mainstream adoption of CSR practices.
CRiSis research on CSR covers three key areas:
- People: consumer behaviour, assessment of ethical labour practices, particularly in transition economies; and how firms can involve communities through e.g. volunteering initiatives.
- Planet: environmental actions including: approaches to reducing carbon footprints; corporate ecosystem services assessments to identify business risk and opportunities arising from a company’s dependence and impact on ecosystems; biodiversity offsetting.
- Profit: evaluations of how CSR can contribute to economic growth; ethical finance and banking; ethical marketing, tax avoidance.
Research that explores the effectiveness of CSR and demonstrates how the adoption of CSR strategies can contribute to business success can help responsible societies achieve a sustainable future. CRiSis will create new opportunities to extend CSR research by establishing new partnerships that will allow more holistic assessments of a firm’s impacts and sustainable opportunities, as well as exploring regulatory frameworks to ensure firms act responsibly.