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From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Sustainability

Moving the Agenda Forward in Asia and the Pacific

image of From Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Sustainability
This publication looks at recent developments in corporate social responsibility (CSR) with particular attention to the growing role of impact investment and the need for greater convergence of global CSR instruments and provides recommendations to policymakers to enhance the adoption of CSR as an integral part of business strategy and operations. Increasingly, companies are adopting sustainable business practices as an integral element of their corporate strategies, going beyond the traditional interpretation of CSR and engage in social or impact investment and/or play active roles in development cooperation, including the provision of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. Various global CSR instruments and sustainability frameworks, such as the Global Compact, Global Reporting Initiative and ISO 26000, have been in existence for some time and have been increasingly adopted by many companies, usually the bigger transnational corporations (TNCs).

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Preface

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a well-known concept for some time though the interpretation of this concept differs among countries, companies and stakeholders. In many cases, CSR has been abused as a marketing ploy, masking unsustainable practices of companies, in others it has simply constituted a charity event, again, often to mask the negative impacts of companies’ operations. However, the winds of change are blowing, in particular in the wake of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Increasingly, companies are adopting sustainable business practices as an integral element of their corporate strategies, which is the true meaning of CSR. In fact, some companies have gone beyond the traditional interpretation of CSR and either engage in social or impact investment and/or play active roles in development cooperation, including the provision of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. In this regard, the concept of CSR has evolved and today is often referred to as “corporate sustainability” or “responsible business practices” to avoid confusion with the narrow (and wrong) interpretation of traditional CSR as charity events.

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