Corporate Responsibility : driven towards standardisation?
Abstract: Corporate responsibility (CR) has gained a lot of attention during the last decade and many more companies are producing non-financial reports today than ten years ago. Although a widespread definition is not available CR means that businesses are pursuing their economic, social and environmental responsibilities on a voluntary basis and are integrating them into all business operations, while interacting with their stakeholders. This thesis sets out to explore CR and business managers' perceptions of the CR phenomenon and the drivers towards the standardisation of the social and environmental aspects of CR. What drivers can explain the increase in non-financial reporting and what advantages and disadvantages do standards for working with CR issues include? A literature review was conducted aimed at collecting relevant information about CR and highlighting the key findings. The primary data collection was achieved through seven survey questionnaires with managers from different business sectors that participated in this study by answering an e-mail questionnaire. CR standards will probably be of best use when they are developed to reflect each specific industry and business sector, as long as business engages its stakeholders in business decisions. CR has been driven towards standardisation because businesses are encouraged to be transparent and report on their business activities, driven by stakeholders such as NGOs, governments, and customers. The study concludes that businesses do have wider responsibilities than that of profit maximising, and that CR standards and closer relationships with the stakeholders who encourage them do have a number of advantages for business. However, a single, generic management standard for CR is probably neither necessary nor achievable.
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