The Emerging Business Imperative of Social Responsibility

Kartikeya Kompella

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There has been, for a long while, a discussion on whether the responsibility of business is towards society or towards its investors. It's probably fair to say that this debate would not have become as heated as it has, but for the growing social consciousness across stakeholders and the increasingly penetrative voice of socially minded groups, whether non-profits, the media or individuals with views.

As the demand for greater social responsibility grows more strident, business seems to have become more defensive, acquiescing even while building a keener, tighter focus on profit. It would appear that the threat of having to, almost wantonly in the eyes of some, hand over hard-earned wealth to society has increased the drive to make profits. But 'investing' in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives may not be as bad for business as business people and corporates may fear. On the contrary, there is an argument that is gaining momentum that suggests that investing in CSR may well yield favourable financial results for investors, and therefore is desirable for CEOs wanting to keep investors happy.