Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the ethical responsibility an organisation accepts for its stakeholders, which includes its workforce, its community and its environment. Its wide scope focuses on the short and long-term impact organisations have on society, the environment and economies calling for them to recognise and respond positively to their responsibilities to the general public and wider communities in which they operate.

CSR is an integral business issue that is growing in importance. It is not a subject that organisations can afford to ignore as global attention is attracted by environmental disasters, the adoption of unfair labour practices and reckless financial practices. There are also advantages to be gained from improving organisational efficiency and effectiveness, building corporate reputation and trust, and maintaining consumer and investor confidence.

It is important to ensure alignment between organisational values and business activities. The United Nations’ Global Compact promotes 10 principles focused on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. These are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The scope of CSR and the business benefits it delivers are discussed in this topic.

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