Do Businesses Have Social Responsibilities?

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There are many arguments out there today doubting the importance of being socially responsible for companies. In any case, when a business makes any decision it definitely has some kind of responsibility behind it, because its actions affect human lives, every aspect of it, in one way or another. These actions affect the quality of human life as well. Then we want to ask ourselves – “Should the companies be accountable for their actions?” These actions not only affect said human lives but also the community as a whole along with the environment.

In many cases today we hear that yes, companies do have some responsibility before the people, community, and the environment they are doing business in. This kind of responsibility is known to be called the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). And this whole idea has faced a lot of arguments as to whether or not CSR is good or bad. There are a variety of arguments for and against it.

Some of the arguments supporting the CSR idea are as following: CSR corrects problems that are caused by businesses, it promotes long-term profits for businesses, improves business’ value and reputation and so on. All of these arguments force companies to continue to invest a lot of money into CSR endeavors.. One example is Nike where they actually recycle worn shoes and build track fields and other sports floors from it. Another example could be a cigarette company advertising that smoking is bad for your health. So, the main point is that all of these “socially responsible” corporations want to show the public that they care about the environment and the people living in it.

However, even though it all looks nice and sweet, there are many arguments explaining why CSR should not be followed. The main one is probably that it lowers the economic efficiency and profit of a corporation. And it makes sense, why would you try to invest money in a fund that supports the idea that, say, smoking is bad for you when you are actually a cigarette company. It does not make sense from an economic standpoint as explained above. To many, it may be a much better idea not to give away that money but instead to give it to the employees that work for you. As many people claim, social responsibility starts from within the corporation, from its heart – its employees.

This is a very controversial subject. What are your views on it? Please share your thoughts.


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My purpose is to write and share ideas about sustainability, best business practices, and personal and business ethics.

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January 2010

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