Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The starting point for the WBCSD’s work is based on the fundamental belief that a coherent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, based on sound ethics and core values, offers clear business benefits. Sustainable development rests on three fundamental pillars: economic growth, ecological balance, and social progress.

As an engine for social progress, CSR helps companies live up to their responsibilities as global citizens and local neighbors in a fast-changing world. And acting in a socially responsible manner is more than just an ethical duty for a company, but is something that actually has a bottom line pay-off.

The WBCSD’s basic message has always been very simple: business is not divorced from the rest of society. The two are interdependent and it must be ensured, through mutual understanding and responsible behavior, that business’s role in building a better future is recognized and encouraged by society.

The WBCSD's definition of CSR

"Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large."
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Meeting changing expectations, p. 3

Since 1998, WBCSD dialogues with diverse stakeholders throughout the world have revealed that CSR means very different things to different people, depending upon a range of local factors including culture, religion, and governmental or legal framework conditions. There can be no universal standard.

Armed with this understanding, we produced a report that offers companies practical guidance and hands-on tools for meeting diverse societal expectations. Corporate Social Responsibility: Making good business sense makes the case for CSR as a guiding vision that can help companies maintain their license to operate in an increasingly globalized world. It outlines how to get started, addressing the query common to businesses embarking on the CSR: The WBCSD's journey: "What do we do differently on Monday morning?" and its "CSR Navigator" offers concrete advice that is flexible enough to respond to any company's particular challenges and dilemmas.

Thanks partly to the WBCSD's efforts, CSR has moved from the fringe to become a mainstream business issue. Many leading companies now understand the strategic value of a robust CSR strategy that is translated into tangible action programs and taken to the front lines of commercial transactions. Real change can already be seen in reporting practices, and collaborations rooted in social responsibility are flourishing. We will continue pushing for yet more progress along these lines.

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