What is the Social Responsibility of Business?

Ever since Milton Friedman famously proclaimed “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” (NYTimes 1970), pundits have pondered whether his purist interpretation was really the only way.

Profit is certainly a lot easier to quantify than something like ‘happiness’, but the intangible benefits of good, honest business clearly go way beyond pure finance….Must the word ‘profit’ always refer to money in the strictest sense?

Collected on this page are various interpretations of the idea of “social responsibility” and the responsibility of business to take an active, passive or indifferent role in building a more sustainable world.

Read on below, or learn more on TriplePundit’s front page.

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On the Trail of The B Team

A Bard MBA in Sustainability student tracks the success of the B Team: a group of corporate leaders who take as a self-evident…
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Benefit Corporations for a Sustainable Economy

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Why Don’t More Companies Invest in CSR?

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COP21 Gets Schooled On Climate Action By Soft Drinks And Breakfast Cereals

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Why Milton Friedman Would Have Been Okay With Benefit Corporations

Friedman won the Nobel Prize in 1976, advised President Ronald Reagan on economic policy in the 1980s and wrote several blockbusters, including "Free…
In 1932, E. Merrick Dodd wrote in the Harvard Law Review that the corporation as "an economic institution which has a social service as well as a profit-making function."

The Deep Legal Roots of the Business Case for Sustainability

In 1932, E. Merrick Dodd wrote in the Harvard Law Review that the corporation is "an economic institution which has a social service…
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Big is Beautiful

The big question about business sustainability has always been: Can it scale? In her highly readable and well argued new book, "Green Giants,"…
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Tech Titans: Community Citizens?

As companies continue to pressure Bay Area communities to build new office parks, they often fail to lobby for housing and transportation options…
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3 Reasons Business Leaders Should Care About Upward Mobility

Today, rather than being the world’s poster child for a fair and equitable economy, the U.S. -- home of the American Dream --…
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Ben & Jerry’s Adds Racial Equality to the Ice Cream Mix

Ben & Jerry's is making a "major, multi-year commitment" to the movements for voting rights and racial equality, said Chris Miller, who manages…
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CSR After the Volkswagen Scandal

In the weeks following the Volkswagen emissions scandal, critics have been queuing up to slam the whole concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR)…
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How Some Long-Term Investors are Fighting for Sustainability

Last week, Ceres released an illuminating analysis of how some major companies are responding to shareholder engagement on environmental, social and governance (ESG)…
During Climate Week NYC 2014, thousands took to the streets to demand climate action. Now, it seems companies are standing up to take notice.

3p Weekend: 60+ Companies Going All-In on Climate

Over the past few months, we've seen dozens companies roll out bold commitments to tackle climate change. And, as the historic COP21 climate…
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Role Businesses Should Play in Social Change

With many companies dedicated to building solutions for everyday problems, others are increasingly focusing on tackling major societal issues. With proper investment strategies,…
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Zero to 100: Companies Double-Down on Climate Action

Adding to the growing momentum at Climate Week, five global companies pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It's a goal they…