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.

Transparency, the Panama Papers and the Future of Sustainable Development

Of course it's no surprise that the world's most wealthy and powerful people use whatever means at their disposal to protect their wealth.…

Turning a Tanker Ship: No More Business As Usual

Thinking short-term transitions and long-term transformations.

Mindfulness, Sustainability, Social Responsibility – Not Just Buzzwords!

Is your business experiencing an exodus of good employees? If so, you are not alone. Many large businesses and multinationals struggle with the…

Social Purpose vs. Benefit Corporations: Small Distinction, Big Difference

"The law is impractical and unworkable," corporate lawyer Michael Hutchings says of benefit corporation legislation. The permissive alternative to a benefit corporation law…

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…

Benefit Corporations for a Sustainable Economy

If governments around the world want to encourage public-private partnerships that help us transition toward a sustainable economy, then they must also create…

Why Don’t More Companies Invest in CSR?

The question led me to reflect on the many different arguments companies make against investing in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Although the arguments…

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

While global political leaders lurch to a conclusion at the COP21 Paris climate talks, 114 global companies take a stronger position on carbon…

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…

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…

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,"…

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…

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 --…

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…

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)…