Introduction: the emergence of the corporate responsibility movement
Corporate social responsibility is now an established agenda for large
companies, with a new profession emerging that engages in the social and
environmental contribution of business. How has this agenda emerged over time?
What were the key events and actors? How has this new ‘movement' of committed
individuals been taking shape around the globe? Insights into these questions
come from a review of the first half of first decade of the 21st century.
The Corporate Responsibility Movement compiles Lifeworth’s
highly praised Annual Reviews of Corporate Responsibility from 2001 to
It is introduced with a new overview by the lead author of those reviews, Dr Jem Bendell, in a piece that examines the trajectory of a new social movement in and around business. At a time of searching questions about the future of finance, Dr Bendell argues that a new concept of 'capital democracy' is emerging from within the community of people working towards corporate responsibility, which could be mainstreamed as a socially and environmentally enhanced system of economy. He calls on professionals, researchers and policy-makers to embrace an ambitious agenda for corporate responsibility and develop greater insight into acting together as a movement for change.
View/download Part 1 of the Introduction (PDF) as a free sample
This book is an essential resource for business libraries, recording, analysing and contextualising some of the key events, issues and trends during this historic period in the development of the corporation.
The Lifeworth Annual Reviews on Corporate Social Responsibility have since
2001 tracked the evolution of the CSR movement. This new publication brings
together the reviews that appeared between 2001 and 2005, and together they form
an extremely interesting historical assessment of the growth of a movement that
gone from a sideline activity to a strategic priority for many of today’s
businesses. The book’s introduction is an extensive, well written and thought
provoking assessment of the period covered, which provides numerous insights
that helps the reader dissect this fascinating period. I was pleased to note
that in their reflections, Bendell and other experts — including Dr. Wayne
Visser — pull no punches, both with regards to some of the consequences of our
global capitalist system on people and planet, but also in their critique of the
corporate responsibility movement, which was accused of being ‘beside the
point’, effectively operating from the sidelines within organisations, far
removed from decision-makers and the ability to have real influence. The
analysis ends in 2005, and it is fair to say that a lot has happened since,
partly as a result of the climate change agenda, and partly because corporations
are becoming increasingly aware of the changing societal expectations of their
stakeholders — including customers and to a lesser extent, shareholders. What
hasn’t changed though, is that the CR movement still lacks courage. While it now
has the ear of business leaders, and does have growing influence, it is
terrified of losing this position and remains unwilling to ask the really
difficult question: Is the corporate business model and its underlying operating
system sustainable? Given its historical focus, the book is mainly aimed at CSR
purists, but for those among us who do feel inclined to read it, the quality of
the analysis make it time well spent!
Oliver Dudok Van Heel, Founder, Living Values
|Jem Bendell is an Associate Professor of Management with Griffith Business School, Australia, and Visiting Fellow of the UN Research Institute for Social Development.|
The analysis includes contributions from CSR experts including Wayne Visser, Jules Peck, Jonathan Cohen, Jeremy Moon, Mark Young, Mark Bendell, Kate Kearins, Tim Concannon, Shilpa Shah, Kate Ives, Desiree Abrahams, Paul Gibbons, Rupesh Shah and John Manoochehri.
Jem Bendell’s latest book is a timely reflection on the cultural and
behavioural drivers that can help to transform the future role and purpose of
business. The financial crisis has brought us to an economic crossroads.
However, it also offers a unique window for a collective reshaping of the
relationship between business, government and society. This book offers a range
of challenging insights to those — especially corporate responsibility managers
and executives — seeking to engage in that change process within their
Simon Pickard, Director General, European Academy of Business in Society
This is a fantastic resource for libraries that will help readers explore the
emergence of contemporary corporate responsibility.
Andrew Crane, Professor of Business Ethics, Schulich School of Business, York University
The Lifeworth Reviews have provided “some of the most insightful commentary
on emerging trends in the field … identifying implications for the future of
business in society.”
Hannah Jones, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Nike
“Transforming capitalism to a system that enables prosperity in harmony with
each other and the planet is the greatest challenge of our time ... The stories
and analysis in this Review will hopefully encourage us all to engage with this
Jules Peck, Director, Quality of Life Group
“The Review raises the challenge of how CSR can move from being mainly
constituted by one-off causes and activities to more systematically addressing
social threats and opportunities. Readers can expect to be informed, stimulated
Professor Jeremy Moon, Director, International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, University of Nottingham