Social responsibility
Social responsibility is an ethical
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 ideology or theory that an entity
An entity is something that has a distinct, separate existence, although it need not be a material existence. In particular, abstractions and legal fictions are usually regarded as entities. In general, there is also no presumption that an entity is animate.An entity could be viewed as a set...

, be it an organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 or individual
An individual is a person or any specific object or thing in a collection. Individuality is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs, goals, and desires. Being self expressive...

, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystem. There is always a trade-off between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment. This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals.

Businesses can use ethical decision making to secure their businesses by making decisions that allow for government agencies to minimize their involvement with the corporation. (Kaliski, 2001) For instance if a company is and follows the United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) guidelines for emissions on dangerous pollutants and even goes an extra step to get involved in the community and address those concerns that the public might have; they would be less likely to have the EPA investigate them for environmental concerns. “A significant element of current thinking about privacy, however, stresses "self-regulation" rather than market or government mechanisms for protecting personal information” (Swire , 1997) Most rules and regulations are formed due to public outcry, if there is not outcry there often will be limited regulation.

Critics argue that Corporate social responsibility (CSR) distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing; others argue that it is an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations though there is no systematic evidence to support these criticisms. A significant number of studies have shown no negative influence on shareholder results from CSR but rather, a slightly positive correlation with improved shareholder returns.

Student Social Responsibility

Student social responsibility or SSR is the responsibility of every student for his/her actions. It is morally binding on everyone to act in such a way that the people immediately around them are not adversely affected. It is a commitment everyone has towards the society – contributing towards social, cultural and ecological causes.
SSR is based on an individual’s ethics. Instead of giving importance only to those areas where one has material interests the individual supports issues for philanthropic reasons. It forms the base for CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility because if everyone in a business organization does his/her bit the bigger things automatically fall into place.
The trends however show that big charitable organizations recorded high growth due to the SR efforts of individuals and not corporates or the government.
ISR may be slightly impractical, especially in the modern competitive world, where everyone works for self-interest, but it will succeed if we take decisions based on what will benefit a large number of people and respect everyone’s fundamental rights. As individuals we can make our small contributions to society by donating money to trustworthy NGO’s, saving our resources by reducing our consumption, E.g. by switching off lights or computers when not in use helps companies reduce their carbon footprints on the earth.
In every religion be it Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Christianity great stress has been laid upon individual social responsibility. In the Bhagavad Gita , also known as the “management epic” Lord Krishna teaches Arjun what his responsibilities as a king are. The Karma Yoga tells us about the fruits of our labour and how they are directly related with our individual actions. According to Karma Yoga a company which does good work will reap their benefits and vice-versa.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR has been defined by Lord Holme and Richard Watts in The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s publication ‘Making Good Business Sense’ as “…the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the local community and society at large".
CSR is one of the newest management strategies where companies try to create a positive impact on society while doing business. There is no clear-cut definition of what CSR comprises. Every company has different CSR objectives though the main motive is the same. All companies have a two point agenda- to improve qualitatively (the management of people and processes) and quantitatively (the impact on society). The second is as important as the first and stake holders of every company are increasingly taking an interest in “the outer circle”-the activities of the company and how these are impacting the environment and society.

Emerging Normative Status of Social Responsibility

Social responsibility as a non-binding, or soft law
Soft law
The term "soft law" refers to quasi-legal instruments which do not have any legally binding force, or whose binding force is somewhat "weaker" than the binding force of traditionallaw, often contrasted with soft law by being referred to as "hard law"...

 principle has received some normative status in relation to private and public corporations in the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

) Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights developed by the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee
International Bioethics Committee
- International Bioethics Committee :The International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO is a body composed of 36 independent experts from all regions and from different disciplines that follows progress in the life sciences and its applications in order to ensure respect for human dignity and human...

 particularly in relation to child and maternal welfare.(Faunce and Nasu 2009) The International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

 (ISO) is developing an international standard to provide guidelines for adopting and disseminating social responsibility: ISO 26000
ISO 26000
ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has launched an International Standard providing guidelines for social responsibility named ISO 26000 or simply ISO SR and was released on 1 November 2010.-Guidance without certification:...

 - Social Responsibility. Due for publication in 2010, this standard will "encourage voluntary commitment to social responsibility and will lead to common guidance on concepts, definitions and methods of evaluation." (ISO, 2009) The standard describes itself as a guide for dialogue and language, not a constraining or certifiable management standard.

See also

  • Scuppie
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
    Corporate social responsibility
    Corporate social responsibility is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model...

  • Social enterprise
    Social enterprise
    A social enterprise is an organization that applies business strategies to achieving philanthropic goals. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit....

  • Social entrepreneurship
    Social entrepreneurship
    Social entrepreneurship is the work of social entrepreneurs. A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change . While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a...

  • Socially responsible investing
    Socially responsible investing
    Socially responsible investing , also known as sustainable, socially conscious, or ethical investing, describes an investment strategy which seeks to consider both financial return and social good....

  • Inclusive business
    Inclusive business
    An inclusive business is a sustainable business that benefits low-income communities. It is a business initiative that, keeping its for-profit nature, contributes to poverty reduction through the inclusion of low income communities in its value chain.In simple words inclusive business is all about...

  • SA8000
    SA8000 is a global social accountability standard for decent working conditions, developed and overseen by Social Accountability International . Detailed guidance for implementing or auditing to SA8000 are available from its . SAI offers training in SA8000 and other workplace standards to managers,...

  • Shareholder primacy
    Shareholder primacy
    Shareholder primacy is a theory in corporate governance holding that shareholder interests should be assigned first priority. A shareholder primacy approach often gives shareholders power to intercede directly and frequently in corporate decisionmaking, through such means as unilateral shareholder...

  • Social Accountability International

Further reading

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