What in the World is Corporate Social Responsibility? - A blog by Christine Arena

What in the World is Corporate Social Responsibility? - A blog by Christine Arena

Christine is co-founder and CEO of sparkUp, start-up stakeholder engagement technology company. She is also an award-winning author, syndicated blogger and corporate strategist. Christine writes exclusively for her blog.


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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 8:45am


When academics, pundits and corporate heavy hitters take the stage to debate semantics, who wins? That question weighed heavily in my mind during last week’s “Great CSR Debate,” an event hosted by PR Firm Fenton and instigated by Professor Aneel Karnani’s controversial Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, “The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility.”

As the webcast beamed out live to an audience of over a thousand viewers, thought leaders including The Economist’s Matthew Bishop, ThomsonReuters’ Chrystia Freeland, UN Global Compact’s George Kell, BSR’s Aaron Cramer, Campbell Soup’s Dave Stangis and GE Foundation’s Bob Corcoran argued about concept that evidently means different things to different people. As moderator of the debate, my intent was to “navigate” the conversation to the point where a “side” would “prevail.” But within the first few minutes, I realized why efforts in this direction were futile.

“What do we mean by corporate social responsibility (CSR)?” asked Karnani. “It’s not just that the terminology is clunky. It is also unclear.”

continue reading