3BL Blogs: Why the "S" in "CSR"?

3BL Blogs: Why the "S" in "CSR"?


The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 12:20pm


A couple of weeks ago, I asked Why the "C" in "CSR"? After all, not all companies are corporations, and most people interested in CSR seem really to be interested in the ethical responsibilities of companies quite generally.

Today's question: Why the "S" in CSR? What's so social about Corporate Social Responsibility? The short answer, presumably, is that CSR is intended to get managers to think not just about their responsibilities to shareholders, but to society more generally. Indeed, much of the debate over CSR has focused on whether managers are a) can (i.e., are they qualified to), and b) should (are they justified to), use shareholders' resources to achieve social objectives.

But (echoing part of my point from 2 weeks ago) most CSR advocates don't seem to want to define the scope of CSR narrowly: they generally want CSR to cover the full range of ethical issues in business, and perhaps even for CSR to supplant (or engulf) business ethics.

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