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CSR

by Gabriela Gonzalez

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Corporate
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Social responsibility
CSR Business Ethics ESL
The Corporate Social Responsibility Debate (August 10 th, 2011)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a commitment to integrate social and environmental concerns into a company’s business model. CSR incorporates public and environmental interests into corporate decision-making.

Advocates of CSR believe that a corporation should not only be responsible to shareholders but also to the environment and company stakeholders. These stakeholders may include employees, customers, communities, and related groups that support the organization.
Approaches to implementing CSR include community-based development, creating better business practices to manage risk, and philanthropy.

Economist Milton Friedman presented the classic objection to CSR in 1970. Friedman argued that the success of a free-market economy is founded on the idea that the only social responsibility of a business, provided it operates lawfully, is “to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.”
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CAPTION Half page image nullam nunc eros, vehicula feugiat
Comic Panel 1
CAPTION Half page image nullam nunc eros, vehicula feugiat
Friedman equated CSR to “spending someone else’s
money for a general social interest.” Doing so, he argued, would be equivalent to imposing taxation (in the form of CSR policies) on shareholders. Such a political role is appropriate for a socialist government, not a corporation, according to Friedman.

Central to the CSR debate is the question of whose interests a corporation ought to serve. This question, known as the shareholder-stakeholder debate, puts anti-regulation economists like Friedman in opposition with those who believe companies should be bound by ethical and international norms (and not only laws) to protect the interests of all stakeholders. CSR has
gained importance in the last two decades due to a new phenomenon called ethical consumerism -- the practice of educated consumers purchasing only products they believe are made ethically. As a consequence, many companies are now being pressured to adopt CSR
strategies regardless of whether they genuinely care about social responsibility or not.

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