"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Friday, July 27, 2007

Corporate Social Responsibility

As the concerns over environment and sustainability become more urgent today, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining momentum. The concept itself is as old as the oldest companies in the world, for an organizations’ action always had an impact on the stakeholders. However, with the depletion of resources, growing population and exponentially increasing consumption, it is more important than ever for the corporations to become active members of the global movement for sustainability, environmental leadership and social innovation. There are a number of policies being created by the governments to ensure the responsible actions of corporations, but so far the effort on the side of the law is almost equally matched by the determination of organizations to continue to put the “bottom line” first. In the 21st century, however, we will see that the world leaders will learn to adopt the “guidelines” for corporate social responsibility as fundamental attributes of doing business, for they are not only essential to profitable and sustainable operations, but also to the success of the humanity as a whole.

Corporate social responsibility embodies the mental shift from egocentric materialistic view of the world to a more cooperative and holistic way of thinking, according to the Spiral Dynamics theory. It is significant because it stresses the importance of responsible management of resources, both human and physical. It promotes the vision of common good and common best, thus inspiring leaders to take charge and make positive change in the world. The more professionals adapt the socially responsible way of thinking, the more beneficial business operations will be not only for the economy, but also for the global community. The results will be exponential. With more investment in sustaining and improving the world around them, the organizations will benefit in the present by complying with the regulations and attracting the socially and environmentally conscious customer base, but in the future they will reap immense rewards by sustaining and even improving the condition of resources in the world. The standard of living in the world will improve, the developing countries will be actually able to develop their industries, and the people will be able to move away from simply trying to survive to living full, satisfying and productive lives.

The benefits of applying the principles of corporate social responsibility are much like the benefits of financial investment in the economy – the expenditure in the present, even though it declines the “official profits” for a period of time, provides for much faster growth in the long-run. With the investments in sustainability development and intra-industry cooperation, one would expect substantial returns in the future. The main obstacle right now in the way of increased cooperation is the emphasis on competition and struggle to succeed over the other players in the industry, which is a great attribute of the recent and somewhat current state of business despite the great awareness of the global situation and the need to change. However, as the 21st century is bringing about a complete shift from old paradigms to new, it is time for the leaders of business and progress to grow into responsible adults, in control of the future and common good.

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