corporate social responsibility

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Limits of CSR: mere lyrics versus the current political economy paradigm

When I started to research corporate social responsiblity (CSR) a friend of mine exclaimed: “So you are studying something that does not exist!” My interest did not decrease after that, although I got many skeptical comments from some professors as well. Probably for many, the debt crisis in the Eurozone or the reasons of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 seem to be more up-to-date and crucial topics for research. Why? Because they are all about money – the key issue of the current economic paradigm.

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To regulate or not to regulate

The core of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) deals with the societal and environmental aspects of economic activity. Historically, the question of what and how much corporations should be responsible for has been answered differently.

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How Does Culture Impact our Expectations of Corporate Social Responsibility?

Culture matters. In every aspect of our life and there is no doubt about it. CSR is such a product of corporate activity that it undeniably has its own cultural “face”. Many scholars have already acknowledged the existence of these differences and highlight culture as one of the main factors among drivers of CSR.

Let’s look at the issue from the perspective of our own everyday experience and observations.

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Difference between Good and Responsible Businessmen

You can be born to be a good businessman, but you can be only taught to be a responsible one.

Porter’s article “Creating shared value: How to reinvent capitalism – and unleash a wave of innovation and growth” argues that companies can create economic value by creating societal value, and the purpose of businesses must be redefined as creating shared value, not just profit per se.

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What Gets Measured gets Done

I personally a priori do not expect from a business neither any good will, nor morality or nobleness. We have some exceptions in business world but they just prove the rule. As long as there are shareholders’ interests and goals of profit maximization, businesses will be always after new possibilities of cutting costs and ways of raising incomes at the first place. All the other types of activities (unless their implementation is forced by a third side), which do not increase a company’s bottom line in a traditional way, are either window dressing, or in some cases attempts (successful or not) to Create Shared Value (CSV). CSV is a concept introduced by Michael Porter in 2011. The main difference between CSV and CSR is that the latter is about responsibility, whereas CSV is about creating value. According to CSR concept businesses are put against society. CSV, on the contrary, focuses more on the opportunities for competitive advantage from building a social value proposition into business strategy.

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10 Commandments of a Responsible Business

Having high expectations of good, responsible behavior from a business is similar to having high expectations of such behavior from a single person. Business is done by people and decisions are made by people. So why should we expect the path of a local corporation to be different from a path of a single person from our local community?

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De Beers and Alrosa

Girls’ Best Friends: Generous Unsustainable Responsibility vs. Moderate Sustainable Responsibility

Mining industry has a big impact on many economies. In many cases mining becomes not only a city-forming industry, but even a main pump of budgets of all levels. Mining is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and has a significant number of negative environmental and social externalities Thus, it is one of the most extensively regulated industries. Sustainable development of mining companies is one of the major tasks both for governments and companies themselves.

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CSR as a Product of Interactions between Market, Political and Civil Institutions

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is supposed to be a link that connects the market economy to sustainable development. It is believed that it is in business’ enlightened self-interest to mitigate its negative impacts and to contribute to social development.

Although there is extensive literature dedicated to development of theories explaining CSR, it still remains a poorly defined phenomenon.

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