Welcome to the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog. This blog is a forum for analysis and discussion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics issues around the world. In particular, the blog will focus on the following areas (though not exclusively):
- Business and Human Rights (e.g., human rights law; international criminal law; corporate complicity in human rights violations and war crimes; corporate cooperation with dictatorial or rogue regimes).
- Ethics of Corporate Power and Wealth (e.g., commercial activities and conflicts of interest; bribery and corruption in the corporate world; corporate lobbying and corporate campaign contributions, corporate tax avoidance; land grabbing).
- Technology, Bioethics, and Corporate Activities (e.g., corporations and bioethics; adoption of new technologies and the predictability issue; automation and robotization; artificial intelligence; cryogenics).
- Ethics and Responsibilities within the Supply Chain (e.g., labor-intensive industries; modern slavery; child labor; community relations).
- Standards of Health, Safety, and Security (e.g., hazards and technology; inherently dangerous business activities; workplace safety).
- Sustainability of the Food Supply Chain (e.g., food security, food wastage, overfishing, unhealthy food production).
- Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development (e.g., industrialization, urbanization and environment; pollution; climate change; deforestation).
- Corporate Governance (e.g., governance structure and corporate irresponsible behavior; the role of institutional investors; corporate democracy; remuneration and inequality).
- The Establishment of Moral Organisations (e.g., mandatory and voluntary CSR measures; code of business ethics; compliance programmes; sanctions).
It is now necessary to define the notion and the scope of CSR that will be utilized in this forum. As a matter of fact, because the phenomenon of CSR includes a great variety of approaches, it is not possible to identify a single definition of CSR that is unanimously accepted within the academic world. Moreover, among entrepreneurs, managers and practitioners, the understanding of CSR appears to differ due to culture, politics, economics, social, and institutional frameworks that create different meanings not only across national boundaries but also within different regions of a single country. Consequently, it appears wise to adopt a notion of CSR that is sufficiently broad to include the three most relevant approaches to the matter: the ethical approach; the economic approach; and the corporate citizenship one. To that end, the best notion of CSR appears to be the one that falls under the “personal responsibility model,” under which corporations are required to act in a responsible way as every other person in our societies. Under such a perspective, the necessity for the adoption of effective CSR measures in the corporate world is based on the assumption that corporations are not self-sufficient monads independent of the social context in which they operate. Contrariwise, it is the society that grants to corporations legitimacy and power providing them with all the necessary elements for them to thrive (e.g., the right legal environment, the market, the infrastructure, and the human capital). As a result, corporations have an inherent duty to serve society acting in a responsible way. In order to improve its CSR performance, a corporation has not only to act in a law-abiding manner but also in a morally reflecting way adopting solutions that alter corporate behavior to produce less harm and more beneficial outcomes for societies and their people.
The Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog is intended to facilitate interaction between the academic, policy, and advocacy communities. Such interaction is important to ensure both that CSR initiatives are based on the best available research, and also to promote scholarship that is relevant to pressing real-world challenges. This blog also aims to promote the sharing of information and insights across disciplinary boundaries, so that scholars and practitioners with a range of professional backgrounds – in law, politics, economics, business, public management, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and more – can learn from one another and work together in pursuit of the common goal of fostering responsible corporate behaviours. Our goal is to promote a debate that is rigorous, vigorous, and constructive.
To this end, we encourage the postgraduate students of the affiliated academic institutions (University of East London, University of Roehampton, Collège de France) to post their perspectives on recent articles, news stories, legal cases, policy initiatives, and other material related to corporate social responsibility and business ethics. We will occasionally try to be provocative, and we may often be wrong, but we hope that our posts will be able to spark productive conversations.
Thank you for visiting, and we hope you will participate in the conversations!