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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Updated on July 12, 2011

What is CSR?

Corporate social responsibility is when a firm operates in a manner which benefits the community, goes beyond compliance, and "engages in actions that appear to further some social good beyond the interests of the firm, and that which is required by law." CSR is the organization looking at what is best for society, for the environment, and for its own prosperity, known as the "triple bottom line," of people, planet, and profit. Not only do these responsible and sustainable approaches help to build brand and reputation, they also help strengthen the community, and therefore, the marketplace. Businesses are giving back to the community and trying to improve the world by investing in local communities, improving labor practices, and generally, greening supply chains.

Who is implementing CSR?

One widely known company engaging in corporate social responsibility currently is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart used to narrowly focus on operational efficiency, growth, and profits. Today, Wal-Mart has widened its sights to building networks of employees, nonprofits, government agencies, and suppliers in order to "green" their supply chains. Jib Ellison, founder of Blu Skye Sustainablity Consulting helped Wal-Mart formulate their business sustainability strategy. His firm noted that actively pursuing an environmental agenda would not only help Wal-Mart differentiate themselves from their competition, but also maintain a license to grow and make its supply chain dramatically more efficient.


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