CR is not just about projects or programmes – although these can sometimes give focus and concentrate minds. Rather it is about how a business conducts itself in all its activities.
o Does it operate ethically and fairly in its dealings with employees, suppliers, customers, governments, competitors?
o Does it seek to minimise negative environmental and social impacts and maximise positive ones?
o Is it a good neighbour?
Corporate sustainability has been defined as “a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing the opportunities and managing the risks associated with economic, environmental and social developments.” (PWC 2008)
We recognise that terms like corporate (social) responsibility (C(S)R), corporate sustainability, ethical performance, corporate sustainability, Corporate Citizenship, are often used inter-changeably; and that there are many different definitions and understanding of these terms. The definitions we are most comfortable with, can be found on our Centre website:
To critics of corporate responsibility and sustainability, who say that the terms seem to cover anything that an organisation does, we say: “precisely!” It is about how companies behave: whether the commitment to responsibility and sustainability is built-in to business purpose and strategy– or whether it is just a bolt-on to business operations.
Different standards of corporate performance are expected in different parts of the world, and in different varieties of capitalism; but global companies have to anticipate that they will be held to high standards wherever they do business and should plan accordingly.
We recognise that individual companies are at different stages of CR maturity and that this can vary within a large, multinational company.