The Need For The Culture Of Corporate Social Responsibilities Amongst Corporate Entities In Nigeria

INTRODUCTION

Background

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been concerned with the need for a strong and moral ecology which reflects the wider social and cultural morals of the society. For this ecology to be developed there is a need for support, not only from governments, but from all stakeholders, not the least from the private business sector.

Over time, the private sector has always been subject to public scrutiny. What we understand today by corporate social responsibility has been influenced enormously by our various economic systems, the evolution of the modern corporation and the emergence of theories of Corporate Responsibility itself.

The 1909 case of Cadbury is a notable example to mention in an attempt to putting CSR in context. These issues were in many ways the Spare parts for Caterpillar same as those today. Firstly, companies were then and are now felt by many to have a duty to uphold certain human rights, even when there is no legal liability. Secondly, Companies that purchase commodities or manufactured goods were held to have influence over, and responsibility the behaviour of their producers. These principles were apparent in the 1909 court case and are central to areas to modern corporate social responsibility such as ethical trade.

Corporate Social Responsibility came into being in the 1960s and early 1970s after many multinational corporations formed the term stakeholder, meaning those on whom an organization’s activities have impact. It was used to describe corporate owners beyond stakeholders as a result of an influential book by Edward Freeman titled ‘Strategic Management; a stakeholder approach in 1984. Proponents argue that corporations make more long term profits by operating with a perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from the economic role of businesses. Others argue CSR is merely window dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of government as a watchdog over powerful Multinational Corporations.

DEFINITION OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ could also be referred to as Corporate Conscience, Corporate Citizenship, and Social Performance. It is a form of self regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. The goals of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere who may also be considered as stakeholders.

CSR is titled to aid an organization’s mission as well as a guide to what the company stands for and will uphold to its consumers. Development business ethics is one of the forms of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adhere to similar principles but with no formal act of legislation. The U.N has developed the principle for responsible investment as investing entities.

The world Business council for sustainable development in its publication; making Good Business Sense by Lord Holmes and Richard Watts, defined corporate social responsibility 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 communities and society at large.

A well managed CSR helps in supporting the business Objective of the company, build relationships with key stakeholders whose opinion will be most valuable when times are hard, and should reduce a business cost and maximize its effectiveness.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CONCEPT OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Criticisms and Counter-Criticisms have trailed the concept of CSR and it has been given audience, would have portended doom to the existence of the CSR. One of the challenges faced by this concept is the challenge of definition that people use. We assume here that we are talking about responsibility in how the company carries out its core function – not simply about companies giving money away to charity.

Some key arguments and some responses that have emanated from the concept of CSR are:

1. Businesses are owned by their shareholders – money spent on CSR by managers is thefty of the rightful property of the Owners who are the company’s Shareholders. This obviously is the voice of the laissez faire 1980s, still being given powerful voice by advocates such as Elaine Sternberg who argued that there is a human right case against CSR, which is that a stakeholder approach to management deprives shareholder of their property rights. She further stated that the objectives sought by conventional views of social responsibility are absurd. Not all aspect of CSR are guilty of this however, Sternberg added that ordinary decency, honesty and fairness should be expected of any corporation.

 

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