23 February 2011

Making money with a conscience

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is nothing if not a mouthful. Multinational companies over-engage in a vast range of activities that come under the doing-good umbrella. It spans everything: from volunteering in the local community to looking after employees’ health, from giving out micro-credit to women in Bangladesh to saving the rainforests. With such a fuzzy, wide-ranging subject, many companies find it hard to know what to focus on. Still, CSR is booming. Whether through their websites or glossy reports, big multinationals want to tell the world they are good and ethical and their bosses right and reasonable. None of this means that CSR has suddenly become a great idea. But in practice few big companies can now afford to ignore it.

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