Corporate Social Responsibility

Definition of 'Corporate Social Responsibility'


Corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company's effects on the environment and impact on social welfare. The term generally applies to company efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators or environmental protection groups.

Corporate social responsibility may also be referred to as "corporate citizenship" and can involve incurring short-term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environmental change.

Investopedia explains 'Corporate Social Responsibility'


Companies have a lot of power in the community and in the national economy. They control a lot of assets, and may have billions in cash at their disposal for socially conscious investments and programs. Some companies may engage in "greenwashing", or feigning interest in corporate responsibility, but many large corporations are devoting real time and money to environmental sustainability programs, alternative energy/cleantech, and various social welfare initiatives to benefit employees, customers, and the community at large.



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