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International Corporate Responsibility Series

Volume 3, 2007

Controversies in International Corporate Responsibility

Christopher S. Miller, Silvia M. King
Pages 101-128

Southern Company
A Case Study in Corporate Responsibility Leadership

This paper reviews the experience of an integrated approach to CSR in the U.S. electric utility sector. The authors report on the results of Southern Company’s historical definition of CSR as a dynamic model, balancing stakeholder needs through shifting pressures to assure long-term shareholder value, superior customer, price performance, and sustainable economic development. Using financial and utility sector measures, the paper assesses the company’s “balancing” approach to addressing CSR, which weights corporate, environmental, community, and economic factors in driving successful and sustained financial, social, and environmental performance. The paper concludes by suggesting that CSR success in this sector requires, first, that the global warming issue be governed by the same balancing considerations to which all stakeholders and their legitimate interests are subject, and second, an energy policy that embraces both a technology policy and appropriate regulatory incentives.

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