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Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a type of international private business self-regulation1 that aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically-oriented practices.2 While once it was possible to describe CSR as an internal organisational policy or a corporate ethic strategy,3 that time has passed as various international laws have been developed and various organisations have used their authority to push it beyond individual or even industry-wide initiatives. While it has been considered a form of corporate self-regulation[4] for some time, over the last decade or so it has moved considerably from voluntary decisions at the level of individual organisations, to mandatory schemes at regional, national and international levels. Corporate social responsibility

Evidence that Philanthropy is turning in to a business strategy?

Considered at the organisational level, CSR is generally understood as a strategic initiative that contributes to a brand's reputation.[5] As such, social responsibility initiatives must coherently align with and be integrated into a business model to be successful. With some models, a firm's implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance with regulatory requirements and engages in "actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law".[6] Overall, businesses may engage in CSR for strategic or ethical purposes. From a strategic perspective, CSR can contribute to firm profits, particularly if brands voluntarily self-report both the positive and negative outcomes of their endeavors.[7] In part, these benefits accrue by increasing positive public relations and high ethical standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.[8] From an ethical perspective, some businesses will adopt CSR policies and practices because of ethical beliefs of senior management. For example, a CEO may believe that harming the environment is ethically objectionable. Corporate strategy?

corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective?

Proponents argue that corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective CSR

So, are there any good mainstream documented examples of what could help support my question?

Criticisms

AGRA and Monsanto

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a development aid organization founded in 2006 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Rockefeller Foundation with a focus on Africa. Criticism is expressed of the personnel links between the BMGF's Executive Board and Monsanto [164]. AGRA's economic connection to groups such as Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, Dow Chemical, BASF and Bayer together with the fact that the BMGF holds a significant proportion of the company's shares lead to criticism. In particular the promotion of the use of chemical fertilizers and hybrid seeds leading to the destruction of grown smallholder structures and an increase in Africa’s dependence on large corporations is being criticized

Modi Goalkeepers Award

On September 24, 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) gave its Goalkeepers Global Goals award to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. The decision to award Modi was widely criticized by academics, Nobel Prize laureates, and human rights activists from all over the world.[166][167][168] A petition signed by over 100,000 people also demanded that the Gates Foundation rescind the award.[169] Critics insisted that Modi, a Hindu nationalist prime minister with an alleged long record of human rights abuse, should not be celebrated by an organization whose mission states that 'every life has equal value and all people deserve healthy lives.'[170] By giving Modi this prestigious award, they noted, the Gates Foundation contributes in legitimizing the authoritarian rule of Modi, including his mistreatment of India's minorities.

Poverty and education policy

Critics say that Gates-backed reforms such as increasing the use of technology in education may financially benefit Microsoft and the Gates family

Whilst

he Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has overlooked the links between poverty and poor academic achievement and has unfairly demonized teachers for poor achievement by underprivileged students. They contend that the Gates Foundation should be embracing anti-poverty and living wage policies rather than pursuing untested and empirically unsupported education reforms Criticisms and reforms

Calls for divestment - The crux of the matter

The foundation trust invests undistributed assets, with the exclusive goal of maximizing the return on investment. As a result, its investments include companies that have been criticized for worsening poverty in the same developing countries where the foundation is attempting to relieve poverty.[83][175] These include companies that pollute heavily and pharmaceutical companies that do not sell into the developing world.[176] In response to press criticism, the foundation announced in 2007 a review of its investments to assess social responsibility.[177] It subsequently canceled the review and stood by its policy of investing for maximum return, while using voting rights to influence company practices. Calls for divestment

I wish to highlight this statement here, from the above reference:

"In response to press criticism, the foundation announced in 2007 a review of its investments to assess social responsibility.[177] It subsequently canceled the review and stood by its policy of investing for maximum return".

Criticisms of CSR model

Milton Friedman and others argued that a corporation's purpose is to maximize returns to its shareholders and that obeying the laws of the jurisdictions within which it operates constitutes socially responsible behavior.

Others have argued that the primary purpose of CSR is to provide legitimacy to the power of businesses.[121] As wealth inequality is perceived to be increasing[122] it has become increasingly necessary for businesses to justify their position of power. Bakan

Ethical ideologies

politically conservative CEOs will tend to support the practice of CSR if they hold a view that it will provide a good return to the financials of the company. In other words, this type of executives tend to not see the outcome of CSR as a value to the company if it does not provide anything in exchange.

Misdirection

There have been unsubstantiated social efforts, ethical claims, and outright greenwashing by some companies that has resulted in increasing consumer cynicism and mistrust.[128] Sometimes companies use CSR to direct public attention away from other, harmful business practices. For example, McDonald's Corporation positioned its association with Ronald McDonald House and other children's charities as CSR[129] while its meals have been accused of promoting poor eating habits.

Acts which may initially appear to be altruistic CSR may have ulterior motives. The funding of scientific research projects has been used as a source of misdirection by firms. Prusiner, who discovered the protein responsible of CJD and won the 1997 Nobel prize in Medicine, thanked the tobacco company RJ Reynolds for their crucial support. RJ Reynolds funded the research into CJD. Proctor states that "the tobacco industry was the leading funder of research into genetics, viruses, immunology, air pollution"[131] anything which formed a distraction from the well-established research linking smoking and cancer. riticisms and concerns

Summary

So we have possibly the largest for maximum profit philanthropic company in the world creating mainstream discontent by posting reviews that they will continue to invest in philanthropic endeavours for maximum returns, regardless of the negative effects their philanthropy is having on the developing country.

Also the CSR model appears to be quite explicit in it's own insistance that it is a "strategy"!

Question

Is the Philanthropic CSR model designed to make maximum returns from philanthropy, and turn philanthropy in to a business strategy?

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