The Hard Business of Doing Good

Why true social responsibility – by corporations, government, and individuals – is never that easy or straightforward.

In a perfect world, corporate social responsibility would be a given, not a strategy. This is something to pay more attention to as a new government takes charge in an atmosphere of hope and expectation. After all, key to better governance and progress is the assumption of responsibility by corporations, government bodies and individuals. If past record is any indication, this is an aspect that we really need to work on. But is this due to some flaw in our collective psyche or something else?
Today, the onus is clearly on corporations to run their operations in a way that minimizes environmental impact and optimizes results for all stakeholders. But by the same token, the onus is also on stakeholders and members of civil society to ensure that businesses meet these obligations.
There are now new ways and models for maximizing social impact, according to one of our writers. But companies must first define what social responsibility means for them in a holistic business sense before throwing their weight (and money) behind specific causes.
We know that CSR activities have an impact on corporate reputation but what is the best way to manage and talk about them? In the face of greater public skepticism, companies have to show that their activities amount to more than greenwashing.
We hand it over to our experts to debate the nuances of this not-so-simple facet of business and public life.

In this Issue:
The Policing Role of Civil Society – Boosting corporate social responsibility requires corporations to face their obligations and for civil society to keep the pressure on them to do that.
The Sociology of Responsibility in India – Social responsibility in India through the ages and how it might develop in the future.
For People, Planet & (ultimately) Profit – How companies can expand their social footprint in the light of new regulation and models.
Doing Good and Talking About it – How organizations can communicate their CSR motivation and goals in a way that resonates with stakeholders.
Alterpoint: Complex (and Simple) Acts of Kindness – Theories of altruism and our real motivation for doing good.

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