What responsibilities do businesses have? Who takes priority when decisions are made? Are shareholders the most important to consider, or is it the customer? Should a company simply meet the required regulations, or attempt to go above-and-beyond the requirements? All of the questions involve corporate social responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility can be defined 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 of the local community and society at large” (World Business Council for Sustainable Development).
Cash is King
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Wal-Mart is a great example of the first myth. In the past few years, the company has faced lawsuits and accusations of poor labor practices, but the company has still flourished to one of the world’s largest and most successful companies. Myth two states “The ethical consumer will drive change” (Doane, 2005). Many consumers claim to be an “ethical consumer”, but talk is cheap. Fewer than 5% of consumers show consistent ethical and green purchasing behaviors. A more detailed view of this tendency is show in Exhibit 1.1. As the trend shows, consumers intend to purchase ethically more than they actually do. Price and quality generally take precedent as more important factors than ethically sound products.
Taken from: “The Myth of CSR” by Deborah Doane. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Fall 2005.
“Myth #3: There will be a competitive “race to the top” over ethics amongst businesses” (Doane, 2005). This myth creates an incentive for companies to appear as socially responsible as possible to gain a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, these same companies care more about appearing socially responsible than actually being responsible. This leads to deceptive and unethical practices such as hiding certain business practices from the public. The last myth is “In the global economy, countries will compete to have the best ethical practices” (Doane, 2005). I would argue that the global economy has increased competition to the point of degrading ethical practices. Companies must produce goods as cheaply as possible to compete, often at the expense of poor working conditions.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
I am a strong believer in Jesus Christ, and believe in living life according to his teachings. Why then am I against corporate social responsibility? I am not! I do not believe corporations should operate at the detriment to consumers or the environment. I have simply stated that it should not be the primary objective. The Bible consistently talks about honest business principles, which I believe should be followed. "Don't cheat when measuring length, weight, or quantity. Use honest scales and weights and measures. I am God, your God. I brought you out of Egypt” -Leviticus 19:35. “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” -Proverbs 13:11. These two verses show that honesty and integrity are essential. I believe that businesses owe their responsibility to their shareholders and customers. Romans 13:7 says “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” God wants us to work hard at everything we do. He wants us to try and succeed in the world. It is important that we honor Him in everything we do, including our work. I believe this can be done in an ethical way, without going to extreme measures of corporate...