Moving Business Forward

What is Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR)?

With the growing questioning around the expectations from the corporate sector, its responsibilities, ethics and transparent communication, we are witnessing the rise of different concepts and terms in that context, from corporate governance, to corporate social responsibility, to accountability and transparency, to corporate sustainability.

Two decades ago, a debate started about the role of companies in society. This gave rise to Corporate Social Responsibility. However, until today, there is no one agreed-upon definition, although all scholars agree on that it is the implementation and not the definition that is important.

Our favorite definition of CSR reads: "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". http://www.wbcsd.org/home.aspx

Up until 2009, the term CSR, brought the focus on the S in “Social” and less emphasis on the R in “Responsibility”. As a result, CSR was limited to community services initiatives and ad hoc sponsorship of causes and related events. Of course, with less strategic approach, and limited implementation to community services, come less credible measurement tools and less importance to the ROI of CSR on the companies.

The debate continues on definition, impact measurement tools, and business case. The debate reached to finding ways to encourage a more efficient role of the private sector in sustainable development. Only then we started witnessing a more active role for the government in incentivizing and encouraging the private sector through national CSR strategies, indices and ranking and incentives schemes in many countries.

We, at TamkeenCSR, are agents and catalysts dedicated to work with both public and private sectors to address national development challenges and interweave the idea of CSR into a coherent practical agenda. In that context we adopt the use of a comprehensive term that reflects the highest level of commitment to sustainability; thus, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR).