This factsheet was last updated in October 2015.
What is corporate responsibility?
Corporate responsibility (CR), also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR) or business sustainability, addresses the ethics of an organisation’s activities and how it operates in a way that is viable over the long term. These two factors are intrinsically linked, as a business that damages the systems on which it depends will ultimately be unsustainable. At the CIPD, we use the term corporate responsibility to include financial as well as social and environmental responsibility.
CR starts with recognising that organisations’ activities impact on society, the environment and the economy. Value creation is not only a matter of finances. Indeed, the traditional shareholder value approach to business, and the short-termism that often goes with this, are central reasons for the global economic crisis and numerous environmental and other ethical corporate disasters. Committing to CR means looking carefully at an organisation and the full range of its stakeholders, attempting to maximise the positive impact of operations and minimise any negative effects.
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