Corporate social responsibility has developed at a rapid pace in recent years. In the past companies simply donated money to social projects and good causes (philanthropy). Over the last few years, however, companies have increasingly been creating opportunities for their staff to perform voluntary work (corporate social involvement). Ways in which a company can use its knowledge and resources to make a positive contribution to society are also being examined.
This approach fits in with the idea that there can be a healthy business case behind corporate social responsibility. That is to say that many companies are aware that they form an essential part of society and that investing in society yields benefits both for society and for the organisation itself.
After all, a company cannot be successful in a society that does not function properly. It is essential that society and the business community benefit from one another.
The business case approach therefore ensures a win-win situation: benefits for society and the company too. These benefits may also be felt indirectly in the form of more satisfied employees, an increase in knowledge or an enhanced reputation. But what are the consequences of this philosophy for society? Does the business case approach mean that companies' social initiatives are geared more towards the longer term and are therefore more successful? Or do the initiatives have less social impact as certain social issues are left to one side or the business case approach does not work?