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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What Defines a Social Innovator Anyway?

Sifting the wheat from the chaff at Social Innovation Summit Silicon Valley 2014.
Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environmental Affairs, Patagonia

Patagonia’s New, Decentralized Approach to Sustainability Management

About six months ago, Patagonia, a global leader in sustainable apparel, dissolved its sustainability department. This is a development Rick Ridgeway, vice president…
Thought leaders assemble to discuss the future of the financial services industry at BSR '14.

Five Years Later: Has There Been Sustainable Change in the Financial Services Sector?

After the dust settled on the financial crisis, governments, advocacy groups and other stakeholders began to focus intensely on creating a more responsible…
Latondra Newton just took on a new role and has been asked to unite – for the first time – Toyota’s North American social innovation activities. We sat down with Newton at Net Impact '14 to find out what that means.

Toyota’s Social Innovation Umbrella

Latondra Newton just took on a new role and has been asked to unite – for the first time – Toyota’s North American…
From left to right: John Hodges of BSR, David Wheldon of Barclays, Bank of America's Andrew Plepler and Sheelah Kolhatkar of Bloomberg Businessweek discuss the future of the financial services industry at BSR '14.

Is Post-Financial Crisis CSR For Real?: Exclusive Interview at BSR ’14

TriplePundit sat down with Andrew Plepler, global corporate social responsibility executive for Bank of America, at BSR '14 to find out what has…
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3p Weekend Conferences: CSR and Planning for the Unplanned at BSR ’14

At the 2014 BSR Conference, a group of though leaders assembled to discuss corporate responsibility and planning for the unplanned. We pulled some…
Employee Engagement photo

Engage and Excel: How Corporate Responsibility Improves the Bottom Line

Business leaders may be aware of the positive impact of an engaged workforce on productivity, but they might not recognize the power of…
Measuring emissions output is the first step to reducing carbon footprint -- whether it's for a small company or a large corporation.

Making Sustainability Part of Your Company’s Culture

In this op/ed from Terrapass, Nancy Bsales offers an analogy to help explain the benefits of offsetting to even the biggest doubters.
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A West Coast Perspective On Sustainability

Sustainability consultant Andrew Wilson of Corporate Citizenship finds that businesses in San Francisco are ahead of the curve when it comes to corporate…
Humana CEO   Bruce D. Broussard, Nicole Newman of D.C. Promise Neighborhood, President Barack Obama and elementary students at an event commemorating this year’s National Day of Service and Remembrance in Washington, D.C.

Health is Everyone’s Business

Americans spend in excess of $2.7 trillion dollars on health care each year. This is roughly one of every six dollars spent in…
Business Meeting

Study: Diversity Still Jeopardized by Workplace Attitudes

A University of Colorado study rejects the perception that women and individuals of color have fair opportunities for advancement in the workplace. The…
SBAmiller, maker of this fine malt liquor, is expanding the meaning of "sustainability"

Taking Sustainability Beyond the Company Walls

The difference between SABmiller's approach and other company-centered 'efficiency' efforts is the depth of focus outside the company's own walls.
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Consumer Brands Face Tax Haven Pressure While B2Bs Get Free Pass

Corporate responsibility advocates were quick to label the story a win from a stakeholder engagement standpoint, and it surely shows what can happen…
Chase Bank branch at the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Human Values and Corporate Social Impact: Respect and Shame

Shame involves an attack on one’s inner worth. It is one of those traits that reveals self-reflection, of which humans alone seem to…
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The Role of the Corporate World in Sustaining the Environment

Early companies never really considered how corporate business may impact the environment. As forests were burned to the ground in the name of…