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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 33, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Kathleen Wilburn, Ralph Wilburn
Pages 1-15

Demonstrating a Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility Not Simply Shared Value

Porter and Kramer (2006, 2011) are very clear that shared value is not corporate social responsibility. Not only do they criticize the four principles on which CSR rests: moral obligation, sustainability, license to operate, and reputation, as ineffective and vague, they maintain that the only reason for companies to engage in sustainability projects is to decrease costs and thus increase profits, not because they have a corporate responsibility to help protect the environment the people who dwell in it. Because social problems cause extra costs for companies and thus decrease profits, they say that companies should have strategies that might appear to be socially responsible, but are not because the intent is to improve profits. This paper will describe the current definitions and focus of CSR, explain shared value, and then propose ways that commitment to CSR can be made public by leaders and their businesses, such as using social license to operate, third-party assessors, and new business structures.