Corporate Social Responsibility

How beneficial are benefit corporations?

Benefit corporations are a new, fast-growing legal form of for-profit incorporation. They are under no legal obligation to maximise shareholder value. Instead, they are legally bound to pursue social benefit. At present, Benefit corporations (or some variant thereof) exist in the UK, Italy, and 31 of the 50 states in the US. Legislation is advancing in Australia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia […]

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    Red or blue? Political ideology and firms’ corporate social responsibility

Red or blue? Political ideology and firms’ corporate social responsibility

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are, essentially, people. They enjoy many of the same rights and responsibilities as individual Americans. But do profit-seeking enterprises also have discernible political ideologies? Our research suggests that they do.

In a recent study, we demonstrate that employees’ personal donations to the two major American political parties serve as an accurate […]

PR gone wrong: the backlash effect of window dressing

Window dressing, by Connie Ma, under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence
Entrepreneurs dress up their windows. Greengrocers display their greenest apples in crates in front of their shops. Financial institutions improve the appearance of their fund’s performance near the end of the quarter. And oil companies’ launch campaigns to let the world know that they are investing in environmentally friendly technologies.

At first sight, […]

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    Firms adopt corporate social responsibility for complex reasons

Firms adopt corporate social responsibility for complex reasons

The traditional perspective for engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) assumes that early adopters are more authentic than late adopters.  Why? Those that fear their operations aren’t CSR friendly take longer to bend to the will of external stakeholders, and report later. On the other hand, “best practice” organisations release CSR reports in advance of stakeholder expectations, taking advantage […]

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    Environmental disclosure: corporate accountability or greenwashing?

Environmental disclosure: corporate accountability or greenwashing?

Nearly all of the 100 largest companies in Japan, France, and the United Kingdom — and the vast majority of such companies in the United States — issue sustainability reports. These very high reporting rates reflect increasing pressure on companies from stakeholders — including investors, consumers, governments, and civil society — to be more transparent about their environmental impacts.

Does […]

Can businesses police the behaviour of global suppliers?

A group of activists wanted to shine a spotlight on the opaque supply chain that provides raw materials for cellphones. What they discovered was just how difficult that can be.

The supply chain for consumer electronics is one of the least transparent in the world. Each cellphone chip comes from a different supplier, and the raw materials that go into […]

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    Corporations need to avoid the ethical blindspots of volunteerism

Corporations need to avoid the ethical blindspots of volunteerism

Employee volunteer programs supporting corporate social responsibility/sustainability (CSR/S) goals demonstrate authentic commitment and provide a platform for other benefits, as well. Organizations may involve employees as community caretakers and loan executives to nonprofits. CSR/S-linked volunteer programs have the potential to attract and retain employees and to enhance their job satisfaction. Moreover, corporations gain positive publicity when news and social […]

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    Community involvement lends legitimacy to firms’ social accounting

Community involvement lends legitimacy to firms’ social accounting

Social accounting is a broad term describing a range of company reports on community or wider stakeholder engagement. It is often viewed as a simple process of one-way communication as a company seeks to put forward an account of its social impact. It is less regulated in form than financial accounting, and its purpose is usually framed as winning […]

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    Customers often believe that suppliers who engage in CSR charge unfair prices

Customers often believe that suppliers who engage in CSR charge unfair prices

There is no disputing that CSR engagements such as corporate donations and responsible supply chain practices offer many advantages. To illustrate, consider the fact that Microsoft donated more than $1 billion (!) to charitable causes in 2015. Beyond the benefits for society, companies such as Microsoft benefit from their CSR engagement themselves: Many studies show that customers feel a […]

Does CSR create shareholder wealth?

Due to increasing pressures on organisations to behave in socially responsible ways, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a “must have” component of corporate strategy. This is a good development for the society at large as the massive rate of industrialization in the last century has placed a heightened burden on the limited resources our planet has to offer. […]

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    Some firms actively use CSR to improve their image in the public media

Some firms actively use CSR to improve their image in the public media

The business press is an important information intermediary in capital markets. For example, prior research shows that more favorable media coverage can reduce a firm’s cost of capital. This raises the question whether firms can influence their media image. In a recent study, we examine whether firms that act more socially responsible receive more favorable media coverage.

Our study consists […]

The dark side of corporate social responsibility

As firms encounter intensive pressure from consumers, community groups and NGOs — while simultaneously facing heightened competition in the global economy — they are increasingly compelled to acknowledge the demands for corporate social responsibility (CSR). Despite the increase in this type of activity, controversy exists as to whether CSR can improve the interests of both internal and external stakeholders.

It […]

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    Good corporate social performance may lead to higher credit ratings

Good corporate social performance may lead to higher credit ratings

Does corporate social responsibility (CSR) or Corporate Social Performance (CSP) really pay off or is it just a waste of corporate resources? In our research, we empirically examine whether superior performance in CSR results in lower credit risk, measured by credit ratings and zero-volatility spreads (z-spreads).

Until now, only a limited number of studies have investigated the CSR-CFP relationship with […]

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    Tata shows that private governance of adapting for climate change can work – with clearer incentives

Tata shows that private governance of adapting for climate change can work – with clearer incentives

A growing paradigm of ‘engaging the private sector’ is noticeable in all areas of climate risk management and adaptation. Particularly in the face of constrained public budgets and rising adaptation costs, policy makers internationally, nationally as well as locally appear to be increasingly interested in the contribution of the private sector to societal resilience.

However, there is limited empirical investigation […]

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    Volkswagen affair: global coordination is needed to enforce ethical corporate behaviour

Volkswagen affair: global coordination is needed to enforce ethical corporate behaviour

DECEIT, FRAUD, REGULATORY EVASIONS, WINDOW DRESSING: words that have become far too familiar in business news headlines. The Volkswagen emissions scandal is the latest example of disingenuous corporate malpractice that has already had far-reaching consequences for the ordinary customer, shareholder, and any other stakeholder directly or indirectly impacted by the actions of a few.

The outrage against the VW Group […]