Entities such as the Business for Social Responsibility and The Business Enterprise Trust in the United States of the Centre for Tomorrow’s Company and Business in the Community in Britain have synthesized empirical data along this area.
For instance, the Centre for Tomorrow’s Company – whose own special conceptualization of corporate social responsibility initiatives it tagged the ‘inclusive approach’ has the following to say:
At the very least, the research supports the view that the inclusive approach, while serving shareholders’ interests, particularly in the long-term, does lead to business success as a result of improved customer satisfaction, greater commitment on the part of the employees, a more effective supply chain, and an enhanced reputation in the community at large (Centre for Tomorrow’s Success, 1998).
Over the past decade, a growing number of companies have recognized that the business benefits of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and practices. Their experiences are bolstered by a growing body of empirical studies which demonstrate that CSR has a positive impact on business economic performance, and is not harmful to shareholder value (www.bsr.org).
The evidence stacks up to the point where any reasonable person must begin to ask what more might be required to demonstrate a binding cause and effect relationship between increased competitiveness and environmentally and socially responsible behavior (Committee of Inquiry Report to the British Government, 1999).
Society’s preoccupation with the social responsibility of organizations has existed since at least the early 1930s and probably even before this period. The infamous Dodd-Berle correspondence in the Harvard Law Review in 1931-32 is conventionally depicted as launching the academic-CSR debate (Wells, n.d.).