ECCR’s perspective on corporate responsibility is that companies are a manifestation of economic activity but not the centre of the economic world. The economy starts with people and natural resources, human communities and the environment. Corporate responsibility therefore must look at the wider impacts of economic activity.
The view that companies have wider responsibilities than simply making a profit is increasingly accepted.
Many companies have adopted corporate social responsibility policies and programmes, with the stated intention of benefiting the communities in which they operate. Voluntary, philanthropic and charitable actions by companies often do benefit communities. But implementation of corporate responsibility initiatives does not always match good intentions.
What matters most is how companies operate at the heart of their operations. For some critics, voluntary corporate responsibility actions may be more about public relations than substance.
There is therefore a clear role for faith-based and responsible investors and civil society to press companies to base their business practice on policies and practices that meet the highest standards of corporate responsibility.