CSR is Not C-S-R

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CSR is Not C-S-R

This blog entry by Chris MacDonald appeared originally on The Business Ethics Blog.
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Friday, August 21, 2009 - 9:20am

CONTENT: Blog

Regular readers will know that, over the last month, I've posted 3 blog entries critiquing the term "corporate social responsibility" (CSR). I've asked, rhetorically, whether the "C," the "S," and the "R" make sense. I've argued that, no, in each case the word those letters stand for fail to capture the range of issues devotees of "CSR" typically think are important. Basically, the conclusion is that "Corporate Social Responsibility" isn't (just) about corporations, isn't just about social questions, and isn't just about responsibilities.

Now, this isn't to say that there's no topic at all that would suit the term "CSR." If you really are just interested in corporations (and not other kinds of businesses), and if you really are just interested in their obligations (and find questions of rights, permissions, values, and virtues relatively uninteresting), and if you really are only interested in corporations' outward-looking, specifically social obligations, well, then I guess you really are talking about CSR. But I suspect the number of people — and the number of companies — whose interests are that narrow is pretty small.

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Keywords: Business Ethics Blog | CSR | Chris MacDonald | Commentary | Companys | Consumers | Corporate Social Responsible | Morality | Producers

CONTENT: Blog