CSR is short for Corporate Social Responsibility. In Danish we call it often for corporate social responsibility or ethical trade.
When a company works with CSR, as the company takes an extra consideration to such employees, customers and / or community beyond that required by the law. It could be making an extra effort to ensure better working conditions, or to help local communities to build schools or providing clean drinking water.
Not all companies that will be working with CSR. From 1 January 2009 the law requires in Denmark, all Danish listed (large) companies to tell about what they are doing on CSR.
Who's watching that companies live up to their social responsibility?
It is easy to say and write that the company will do a lot of good for its employees or for the climate and the environment, but it's another thing if the company also do something concrete about it.
In Denmark we have the organization DanWatch, as you might call a kind of 'business watchdog'. They keep an eye on the consequences of Danish and foreign companies' investments, trade and production abroad. In other about whether companies are doing what they say they will do.
Slightly as does the Danish organization GreenLeaks. They want to increase firms 'and governments' responsibility to protect the environment and the climate all over the world. The organization acts a bit like WikiLeaks, i.e that they publish important information about damage, pollution or overexploitation of nature, climate and environment.
Is CSR good or bad?
Not all who agree that CSR is a good idea. For example, said the American Nobel laureate in economics, Milton Friedman, back in 1970: 'There is one and only one social responsibility of companies. It is to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits (...). '
Robert Reich, an American professor and labor secretary during Bill Clinton's government, is another critic. He says that 'stories about the company's goodness can make invisible problems that democracy would and should take care of, if only the problems and seriousness was known'.
Want to learn more?
You can find more information on CSR within the following websites:
• Denmark's largest portal on ethical issues and dilemmas (www.etik.dk)
• About CSR on Wikipedia (https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Social_Responsibility)
• Read about DanWatch, and what they do (https://www.danwatch.dk/)