Talking about Corporate Social Responsibility is more than mentioning or measuring the positive image and reputation of a company. This topic is more important than you may think and it is present in almost every committed company or individual with a deep sense and interest on social issues and needs of the different communities where the companies are operating.
Social responsibility is an ethical framework which suggests that an entity – an organization or individual – has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems. A trade-off may exist between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment. This term means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations, but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be defined as the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations that society has of organizations at a given point in time. The concept of corporate social responsibility means that organizations have moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities in addition to their responsibilities to earn a fair return for investors and comply with the law.
The nature and scope of corporate social responsibility has changed over time. The concept of CSR is relatively new – the phrase has only been in wide use since the 1960s. But, while the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations placed on organizations may differ, it is probably accurate to say that all societies at all points in time have had some degree of expectation that organizations would act responsibly, by some definition.
Today, the International Organization for Standardization encourages voluntary commitment to social responsibility and will lead to common guidance on concepts, definitions and methods of evaluation. The standard describes itself as a guide for dialogue and language, not a constraining or certifiable management standard.