Corporate social responsibility, sustainability, sustainable development and corporate sustainability: What is the difference, and does it matter?

Benedict Sheehy, Federica Farneti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The terms “corporate social responsibility” (CSR), “sustainability”, “sustainable develop-ment” and “corporate sustainability” (CS) are critical terms for developing, analysing and evaluating public and private policy goals. These terms are used to make decisions about investment, policy development, and strategy creation. The terms emerged in different fields of endeavour at different points in time. Accordingly, they have different meanings; however, over time they have come to be used interchangeably mixing up policy agendas, confusing managers, regulators, activists and the public at large. We demonstrate that CSR is the best term for focusing on individual business organisations, “corporate sustainability” is an organisation level environmental policy, “sustainable development” is a public policy, and “sustainability” is the broadest term encompassing global local and organisational levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5965
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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