Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

My workplace is a large international oil and gas company, which has been having difficulties and conflicts when attempting to create internationally applicable organizational ethics, including CSR and environmental sustainability practices. The current literature review provides an important insight into modern sustainability and CSR studies: it demonstrates that there is a plurality of approaches towards it in theory and practice. In particular, Grinde and Khare (2008) discuss environmental sustainability from multiple perspectives in an attempt to provide a comprehensive overview. Similarly, Wikström (2010) also considers different perspectives on sustainability and makes a point of differentiating between the “organization for sustainability, sustainable organization and sustainable business” approaches (p. 105). The first of them regard business as a vehicle for sustainability, the third one focuses on the business and the means of achieving sustainability, and the second one attempts to unite the two approaches. Having established this diversity of views, the author also inquires if the three approaches are sufficient for the diverse modern world.

Here, it should be pointed out that the diversity of the modern world is well-recognized by CSR research, especially in its practice-oriented part. For example, Hadders (2009) mentions the cases of improving adaptive balanced scorecards to address various sustainability issues and proposes a version that is termed “Adaptive Quadruple Bottom Line Scorecard” since it incorporates four Bottom Lines perspectives: “financial, environmental, social and economic” (p. 11). This tool needs to be tested, but the fact that there is a variety of options that have had a history of improvement and customization suggests that it is possible to find a suitable technique or, if necessary, create it. To sum up, the review demonstrates the plurality of the approaches and practices related to CSR and sustainability, which can be used to inform the investigation and formulate customized solutions.

Apart from that, the reviewed readings also answered the question of whether a business needs CSR. Grinde and Khare (2008) express an idealistic view and focus on the call for a change in the decision-making patterns of modern people and society in a way that would reflect the fact that our world is finite. The authors maintain that business can be regarded as a very important contributor to the development of innovation, which is why they insist on involving business in sustainability efforts. In other words, their point consists in emphasizing business responsibilities. However, Waldman and Siegel (2008) in their discussion agree that the responsibility and perceived moral obligations can be combined with profit. Indeed, even though Menz (2010) demonstrates that there is no positive impact of CSR on a company’s value, CSR can be useful for businesses, which, for example, is illustrated by Cortez (2011).

Cortez (2011) demonstrates that there is a correlation between CSR spendings in the area of environmental sustainability and market performance; moreover, to an extent, financial performance can also be affected, even though there is no clear conclusion on profitability since the evidence is contradictive. In other words, while CSR maybe not profitable per se, it may confer benefits when managed appropriately. As a result, I suggest that there is no substantial flaw in the opinion of Grinde and Khare (2008), but it can and should be complemented by the proofs of the business-related benefits of CSR that indirectly help to maximize profits. As for the “appropriate management,” the review suggests that it is the responsibility of corporate leaders who are supposed to integrate CSR into the company’s strategy (Waldman & Siegel, 2008). As a result, the review highlights the importance of managers’ roles in corporate ethics, which justifies the choice of the interviewees for the workplace investigation.


Cortez, M. A. A. (2011). Do markets care about social and environmental performance? Evidence from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Journal of International Business Research, 10(2), 15-22.

Grinde, J., & Khare, A. (2008). The ant, the grasshopper or Schrödinger’s cat: An exploration of concepts of sustainability. Journal Of Environmental Assessment Policy & Management, 10(2), 115-141.

Hadders, H. (2009). The adaptive quadruple bottom line scorecard: Measuring organizational sustainability performance, Canadian Sustainability Indicators Network, 1-18. Web.

Menz, K. (2010). Corporate social responsibility: Is it rewarded by the corporate bond market? A critical note. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(1), 117-134. Web.

Waldman, D. & Siegel, D. (2008). Defining the socially responsible leader. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(1), 117-131. Web.

Wikström, P. (2010). Sustainability and organizational activities – three approaches. Sustainable Development, 18(2), 99-107. Web.

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