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Last Updated: 05/18/2011
Reflections on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
RMSED class of 2011

The following excerpts were taken from reflection papers written by the Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development class at the University for Peace during a course on Social Responsibility.

Compiled by Professor Nika Salvetti.

In my argument, businesses should embed profits and responsibility in their primary motivation of profit accumulation. This can be done through their contribution to socio-economic development of their workforce, families and communities, either nationally or internationally, producing products and services that are environmentally friendly, paying taxes that are used in welfare promotion, promoting health and safety in the working environment, etc. This understanding is what should be embedded in all company’s businesses. Elly Musafiri, Rwanda.

It is my opinion that one of the most popular mechanisms for organizing CSR is to let one member of the board be answerable to ethical questions in order to keep creating needed awareness on the use of formal codes of conduct so as to foster responsible behavior within the organization. Charles Ekulide, Nigeria.

[…] CSR is the harmonious relationship of a firm or organization with its different stakeholders in order to maximize its potential and bring forth quantitative benefits with win-win results. […] CSR should be entrenched into a company’s day-to-day business and strategies, so they should most likely aim for an integrated and even more holistic approach in order to contribute to sustainable development. Angela A. Willis, Costa Rica.

CSR is a concept that is needed today more than ever in order for a sustainable future to occur. Proper approaches to apply and embed CSR within an Organization can undoubtedly lead to sustainable development if organizations are willing to look beyond short term profit and realizing their goals with the greater good of the community. By bringing businesses and society back together, significant progress can be made. The impacts irresponsible acts have had on the world do not have to continue, it is up to present generations, including organizations, to stop the cycle from progressing. Alex Liccione, USA.

CSR […] is not a matter of choice anymore, but it’s a vital strategy for companies to keep their businesses running and sustainable. […]Therefore, the most appropriate approach to CSR would be sharing the same vision and mission within the company, as well as being responsible to bring happiness upon their employees and the society. Eun Seon, Yun. South Korea.

Personally, I am skeptical of CSR, at least as it has been conceived by business traditionally…the integral approach to CSR is relevant since the complexity of reality requires that all the major dimensions of it are considered in problem solving to achieve long-lasting results. Paola Espin, Ecuador.

If society accepts social responsibility as a voluntary commitment made by organizations expecting return of their investment, then it shouldn’t be called responsibility at all. If society decided to demand companies to be accountable of their real costs, then there wouldn’t be a need for their good will, and when it happened, it would really be a reason to be proud of. Alonso Munoz, Costa Rica.

[In general], Japanese companies are not willing to put gender balance on the CSR agenda, but put emphasis on environmental efforts or public comments about their companies. There is a need of discussion on how to evaluate performance of companies in different cultures. Natsuko Fukuda, Japan.

Businesses benefit societies when they act in their own interests. Therefore, more than CSR, it is the pressure from the stakeholders for sustainable growth in profitability of businesses that will have a bigger impact. […] CSR will truly be accepted by businesses which are smart enough to see that doing the right thing is a consequence of their quest for profits’. Mayuri Misra, India.

In a nutshell, CSR is at a crossroads. Whether it will take the path of sustainable development depends on the creation of momentum as well as people like us, constantly working to make CSR conducive to sustainable development. Marietta Agathe, Mauritius.

Real winners only have two paths to survive: win always or let others win. The first option can be, from human perspectives, very rewarding, but at the same point, overwhelming. The second one at least could embrace the hope that when others win you can feel part of that victory. Marco Castro, Costa Rica.

So far, most CSR models address the collective internal and external interactions of organizations. But the question remains: how can an organization fully integrate CSR in the long run if individual mindsets are not aligned with the needed changes of the collective? Marcela Pang, Panama.

CSR, in my view, is the consideration of public interest into the decision making process at the core of all activities conducted by a company or a firm. Manuel R. Davila, USA/Honduras.

I have to be realistic in the idea that people are driven by motivation, and having a clear goal or target helps in creating corporate or individual strategies to attain them. Karen Visona, Costa Rica.

We cannot deny the fact that corporations play a significant role in our society. The time is now for corporations to change their way, not only for our present wellbeing, but for our future as well. Jin Kin, South Korea.

The impact of our socially responsible thinking and actions as individual members of more complex social organizations can really make the difference and help to spread the concept of social responsibility worldwide. As individuals, we have in our hands the power to make sustainable development the motor that moves our 3BL world. Rocio Torres, Spain.

I believe that each CSR initiative must be understood and implemented based on the corporation’s individual characteristics, not on one standard requirement for what CVSR should embody. It requires a concrete analysis of a corporation’s context and both the internal and external impacts of its operations and production. Only then can an effective CSR plan be drawn and strategically embedded in a way that will sustain itself into an integral part of the future business plan, and provide full coverage of both its current impacts, and those to come. Sunny Alley, USA.

Companies need to look beyond their ability to turn ethics into profits and learn to be ethical for the simple moral value of their initiatives. […] I am skeptical about handing the responsibility to businesses alone in order to tackle all of today’s problems, but I do believe they should start by addressing their own impacts. Olivia Caldwell, USA/France.

This is exactly what we are discussing; a corporation cannot really be responsible if you are hiring suppliers known to be deeply irresponsible in their practices. Monica Morales, USA/Mexico.

Anyone who is influenced by a company’s action, either directly or indirectly could be a stakeholder. Moreover, a company where stakeholders are interconnected in a multicultural environment, CSR should be carried with ethical approaches of management, and the impact of each part of the community should be deeply considered. Maximizing shareholders’ profits is not an efficient way to pursue social responsibility. Naomi Inoue, Japan.

So far, I argue that the importance of considering CSR in every company operation is based on the understanding and recognition of CSR among all employees for mature CSR activities in Korea. Again, mature CSR cannot be completed without sound understanding of all stakeholders of the business and their assertive application of social responsibility to their every work. Keuntae Kim, South Korea.

[…] this indicates that CSR should start from the corporation without any force, but only driven by the self-realization as a ‘responsible’ actor in society’. Hyojin Ahn, South Korea.

As students of Social Responsibility, we must also hold ourselves responsible to do the right thing in our careers. Although the perfect company does not yet exist, we can use our talents and education to find our role in working to enhance employment standards, quality of business, and the way powerful companies and governments treat our earth. Heidi Resetarits, USA.

From my point of view, […] for CSR to be embedded in an organization, it has to be accepted by the top executives and communicated to the rest of the organization before the organization goes ahead to carry out engaged learning to discover the needs of the community and align it to its priorities. Frank Omona, Uganda.

[CSR] this has been and will continue to be a challenge and worthwhile goal for everyone. We need to help move ‘CSR’ from a buzz word to a common global household term. Only then, will organizations really be starting to make a big enough splash. Erica Giljohann, USA