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Thursday, March 3, 2011

“Forget CSR, make money”

According to Milton Friedman, corporations are responsible for maximizing returns to their shareholders; they are not responsible for social issues.

I recently read an article that describes a survey done by American firm Edelman. Edelman surveyed informed people from around the world to determine their stance on the issue—do they support Friedman, or do they feel that corporate social responsibility (CSR) should be a duty required of any corporation? Results show the approximate percentage of people in each country who support Friedman’s views:

I was surprised to see four emerging markets (India, Indonesia, Mexico and Poland) and two recently emerged markets (Singapore and South Korea) among the top ten countries that support Friedman’s views. These are the countries that could benefit most from such activities. But then I thought, maybe many businesses in developing countries are still in the initial growth phase and thus do not feel that they have the means to be worrying about social issues just yet. Meanwhile, perhaps some countries such as the UAE, have governments who take care of social issues so that corporations do not have to. Or simply, maybe some countries define “social responsibility” differently than others, and thus the results are not completely accurate.

Regardless, in my experience, people resist CSR because there are negative connotations associated with CSR-related buzz words like “going green.” I believe that although it is taking people a while to overcome these negative connotations, more and more companies are embracing the importance of CSR, and the rest will follow along with time.

GlassFrog blogger, Sherisse

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