Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Profits with Principles

Many years have passed since corporate social responsibility (CSR) made its entrance as a major issue for companies. Performance on social and environmental levels has also become important for organizations to consider. Since CSR’s inception, many initiatives have arisen.

Businesses around the world have sought to take account of sustainable development to conform to the general trend across industries toward better management of global regulatory requirements and a reduction of environmental impact. On the other hand, since globalization has become a crucial aspect of organizations economically, organizationally, politically, technologically, and culturally, it has pushed them towards making adjustments in order to incorporate these new requirements into existing processes.

“Business leaders face complex economic challenges, political uncertainty, and changing societal expectations. Regardless of their industry sector, they are under growing pressure to demonstrate outstanding performance in corporate competitiveness, governance, and responsibility.”[i] – Kofi Annan

The book I’ve chosen to review, Profits with Principles: Seven Strategies for Delivering Value with Values, helps clarify the definition of CSR. The volume (which presents more than 60 case studies on corporate social responsibility) follows a pattern of six projected main values, and focuses mainly on how practicing CSR can help organizations accomplish sustainable development—that is, to fulfill the needs of our current generation without compromising those of future ones. It was put together by Ira A. Jackson (a fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University) and Jane Nelson (a senior fellow and director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and director of Business Leadership and Strategy at the Prince of Wales’ International Business Leaders Forum).[ii]

The book is organized in two sections: “Doing Business in a Turbulent World” and “Putting Principles into Practice.”

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