Corporate Social Responsibility and Business

Topics: Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility, Business ethics Pages: 5 (1324 words) Published: April 1, 2015
The true economic growth of a country is reflected in the state of health, education, earnings and the quality of life that its citizens live. Besides government, corporate too has the responsibility in fostering growth. However, as the world has entered the twenty-first century, the modern corporation has become more than a corporate legal person established by shareholders to maximize their wealth through specific activities in the market place. In almost every country, firms are being regarded as a major element in the process of governance and several states have established tripartite commissions which have also as much power as elected legislatures. These so-called ‘mixed commissions of government, business and labour representatives’ have been popular in Europe and are regarded as a foundation of modern governance. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication defined Corporate Social Responsibility as the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development, while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large. Social responsibility becomes an integral part of the wealth creation process, which if managed properly should enhance the competitiveness of business and maximise the value of wealth creation to society. Corporate Social Responsibility may be viewed at three different levels, primary, secondary and tertiary level. At the primary level, the firm attempts to meet its legal obligations and to address the concerns of its primary stakeholders (customers and employees). At this level, the firm is not reaching out beyond the borders of its core concerns. Then at the secondary level the firm reaches out to its secondary stakeholders (its neighboring community), organizations affiliated with its staff, groups likely to consume its products and pet concerns of its directors and managers. Finally at the tertiary level, the firm is reaching out to the wider community, basing its decisions on criteria not related to the immediate benefit of the firm. It is at this level that we may regard the firm as acting socially responsibly. At the other levels, it is acting enlightened self-interest. Companies have a lot of power in the community and in the national economy. They control a lot of assets and may have billions in cash at their disposal for socially conscious investments and programs. Some companies may engage in “greenwashing”, or feigning interest in corporate responsibility, but many large corporations are devoting real time and money to environmental sustainability programs, alternately energy and various social welfare initiatives to benefit employees, customers and the community at large. The two basic principles that govern CSR are charity principle and stewardship principle. Charity principle is the idea that the wealthiest members of society should be charitable towards those who are less fortunate. On the other hand stewardship principle is the idea that business leaders have an obligation to see that everyone, particularly those in need or at risk, benefits from their firms action. When times get hard, there is the incentive to practice CSR more and better, if it is a philanthropic exercise which is peripheral to the main business, it will always be the first thing to do when push comes to shove. In different countries, there will be different priorities, and values that will shape how business act. In Jamaica people have gathered strong opinions as it relates to CSR believe that all companies have obligations to the society and environment in which they operate that go beyond simply following the law. There are certain ethical or political philosophy which argue that social goals are pursued by discussing the kinds of characteristics people should have especially those of rules. Two of the most important work that follow this approach is Machavelli’s the prince...
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