Question of the Week: Is Corporate Social Responsibility for Real?

After this week's lecture and the excellent presentation by Ms Teresa Au of HSBC, it would be fair to ask: Is the CSR trend is for real - or is it driven by profits...or maybe both? If companies are motivated by profits to adopt responsible and sustainable business practices, is that so bad? This recent article summarizes the issues fairly well.

Some experts argue that the most successful examples of corporate engagement in society are those that align with the company's business proposition or business model, i.e. they create new opportunities to make money since consumers increasingly want products and services that are socially responsible. Consider such programs as Nike's decision to implement sustainable practices into the design and manufacture of all its products by its many contractors. Or Microsoft's offer of a suite of software for just US$3 to students in developing countries where governments provide schools with low-cost computers.

What do you think?