Corporate Responsibility- Is it a farce?

In the last few months, I have attended a lot of discussions on Corporate Responsibility and I keep wondering on the importance of this topic in our lives. Corporate Responsibility is an interesting topic and I have got very keen on the subject. However, I fail to understand why the topic has become all that important in the last few years. I have been told that the topic of Corporate Responsibility in its modern form has  existed since the 1920s, if so, why has it gained its importance only in the last few years?

Yes! One obvious reason is the advent of social media and the information overload. But there is one more reason which I feel is not discussed. It is the growth of the developing world which probably makes the developed world insecure about their position. A very interesting point raised by a colleague during a discussion was in the developed world, people can easily talk about abolishing child labour while in the poorer developing countries where the poor have to decide whether to spend money on providing education to their child or to employ the child to earn money, the need for money wins and results in child labour. Its not their will but their need.

Another question that I keep wondering about it whether Corporate Responsibility is the means or the result? The Corporate world talks about being responsible and doing things to adhere to their Corporate Responsibility Charter. But is it really done for the betterment of the society or for their own competitiveness? Are these measures not taken as innovative measures to stay competitive and low cost producers? When the main objective is profitability, why is it window-dressed and marketed as Corporate Responsibility? I agree that their are firms who strongly follow their Corporate Responsibility charter but if these same firms were to lose their profits tomorrow, would they still follow the Charter and stay Corporately Responsible? – A question I would like to explore more about!

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About Prachi Khare

A professional with strong interest in finance, strategy, change management and corporate responsibility.
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One Response to Corporate Responsibility- Is it a farce?

  1. prateekkhare says:

    Thought provoking post.
    CSR, though largely organizational, is more individualistic in my experience. I have always seen an individual or small group of enthusiastic people leading the activities from the front – and they mean support (not profitability).
    But if we look at it from the top, only the CSR heads will be seen who are generally, yes ! profit minded or under pressure form other departments to spend less and make profit in some way.

    So, YES ! If firms were to lose their profits, they would stop CSR.

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