The grass is always greener: reflecting on global disparity in corporate social responsibility

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The corporate landscape is ever changing. From the idea that the social responsibility of business was solely profit maximisation, toward the approach today, encompassing the inter-relationships of business, state and voluntary sectors through sets of relationships that transcend the nation state, the role of the corporation in society is being constantly remoulded to incorporate changes in said society. This evolution has benefitted many through the various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes that have been promoted by various Multinational Corporations (MNCs).

This article argues that whereas many have benefitted from these policies, social responsibility can only be a by-product of the corporation. CSR exists as a powerful marketing tool and merely represents the repackaging of profit maximisation. This article will track the development of CSR in recent years. Noting that there is some disparity in regional trends for CSR, the article will then focus on how governments have enhanced the development of CSR practise within their nation states. This highlights a significant issue: if corporations are truly global in nature, why is there such a disparity over the level and intensity of CSR in differing nation states? As this article suggests, the role of government, the rise in power of the multinational corporation, together with the “strength” of that economy, the size of the population in that region, all impact on how robust, or otherwise, CSR is. What this highlights therefore is that CSR cannot be a form of regulation in its own right, and instead is a tool for profit maximisation, with social good being a by-product.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-156
JournalCommercial Law Practitioner
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2011


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