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Developing an informed understanding of issues surrounding the concept of corporate responsibility.

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Introduction

'Developing an informed understanding of issues surrounding the concept of corporate responsibility' When I first saw that corporate resonsibilty was a topic which I was studying, I expected it to be boring, however, I was pleasantly surprised. I found that the concept of corporate responsilbilty was not only interesting, but it is also increasingly relevant in today's society. Although I feel that doing this work on the topic of regulations would be easier as I have attended more lectures on that topic, I think that the topic of corporate responsibilty would be more interesting to write about. I hope I do not live to regret this decision! Corporate responsibility (CR) has various definitions. However, broadly speaking it covers the ways in which organisations manage their core business to add social, environmental and economic value in order to produce a positive, sustainable impact for both society and for the business itself. Health and safety in the workplace is an important Corporate responsibility issue. Terms such as 'corporate social responsibility', 'socially responsible business', and 'corporate citizenship' all refer to this concept. CR is essentially about companies moving beyond a base of legal compliance to integrating socially responsible behaviour into their core values, recognising the sound business benefits in doing so. Since businesses and the challenges they face differ widely, government interventions need to be carefully considered, well-designed, and targeted to achieve their objective. ...read more.

Middle

Instead, CR is often defined as a voluntary activity, over and above that required by legislation, by which companies deliver benefits to society either through good business practice or pure philanthropy. The problem is that the concept of CR is infinitely elastic. The more companies do in this area the more they are asked to do. While some people may argue that this situation is perfectly justifiable, such an approach is not conducive to making CR a part of mainstream corporate life. It is clear that CR is a concern that is important to the public, shareholders, employees and consumers of many countries. People increasingly judge a company according to what it does and how it does it, not just what is says about itself. A number of well respected international opinion polls show that a significant proportion of the public believes that business does have wider responsibilities beyond simply making profits, paying taxes, creating jobs and staying inside the law. At the instrumental level, business can and will exploit the huge potential of CR to deliver innovative solutions to business issues that can benefit both companies and the societies in which they operate. Action at this level is entirely consistent with the teachings of the market economy. Companies will reap benefits for themselves and their shareholders by delivering benefits to other members of society, especially their customers, employees and other business partners. ...read more.

Conclusion

HSE's mission is to ensure that the risks to health and safety of workers are properly controlled. In terms of Corporate responsibility, they work to encourage organisations to: improve management systems to reduce injuries and ill health; demonstrate the importance of health and safety issues at board level; and report publicly on health and safety issues within their organisation, including their performance against targets. This is one example of how the government is trying to raise awareness of CR issues and improve the current situation. The issue of health and safety and CR has been in the news recently as the conclusion of the investigation into BP's Texas plant which killed 15 people in an accident several years ago. (http://www.hse.gov.uk/corporateresponsibility/index.htm) When I was researching the concept of corporate responsibilty, I was both surpised and impressed to find that one of the companies that has made a lot of promises in the area is Network rail. They describe their goal to recognise our corporate responsibility to all our stakeholders by taking into account the various wishes and needs of a broad spectrum of people and organisations. They say it means acting responsibly in relation to their internal working practices and also in full awareness of the wider context in which they operate. (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/corporate%20responsibility%20report/networkrailcrreport2006.pdf). By doing the research for this essay I have learnt that CR is an important part of today's businesses, and it is certainly the future. Hopefully soon there will be some firm legislation introduced to make CR compulsory, which will surely benefit you and I. ...read more.

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