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Corporate Social Responsibility - Its Impact on Arsenal Football Club

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1.0 Executive summary

This piece of research is aim at critically evaluating and analyzing the subject of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and also to construct a convincing argument that corporate social responsibility is being good for business rather than doing good for others.

The report will start by giving a brief history of CSR before looking at the ambiguity surrounding it in term of what constitutes a responsible or ethical behavior for corporations. It will also critically evaluate the CSR initiative of given companies in terms of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept as well as analyzing these initiatives using a CSR competency framework.

Also the report will critically analyze contemporary corporate social responsibility practice such as cause-related marketing and, using a given company as example, demonstrate the application of this CSR contemporary issue within the national and international context.

To conclude the report will identify existing constraints and make recommendations and suggestions for overcoming obstacles and meeting the challenges presented by the use of CSR.


The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines CSR as "the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large" (SDU, 2007).

While many authors think that this is a relatively new concept, research found that the history of CSR is as old as the history of business itself, even though the concept was not formally formulated until recently. The nature and scope of corporate social responsibility has changed over time. But while the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations placed on organizations may differ, it is probably accurate to say that all societies at all points in time have had some degree of expectation that organizations would act responsibly, by some definition.

As earlier stated, the history of social and environmental concerns about business is as old as trade and business itself. For example, commercial logging operations and laws to protect forests can both be traced back almost 5,000 years (BRASS Centre, 2007). King Hammurabi of Ancient Mesopotamia in around 1700 BC is known to have introduced a code in which builders, innkeepers or farmers were put to death if their negligence caused the deaths of others, or major inconvenience to local citizens. (BRASS Centre 2007).

As early as the 1920s, discussions about the social responsibilities of business had evolved into what could be recognized as the beginnings of the "modern" CSR movement. In 1929, the Dean of Harvard Business School, Wallace B. Donham, commented within an address delivered at NorthWestern University as follows:

''Business started long centuries before the dawn of history, but business as we now know it is new - new in its broadening scope, new in its social significance. Business has not learned how to handle these changes, nor does it recognize the magnitude of its responsibilities for the future of civilization'' (BRASS Centre, 2007).

The current emphasis on the role of businesses in society has been promoted by increased sensitivity to and awareness of environmental and ethical issues. Issues such as environmental damage, improper treatment of workers, and faulty production that inconveniences or endangers customers are highlighted in the media.

It was Karl Marx who observed that those who ignore their history are bound to repeat it. To make further progress towards more socially responsible and sustainable business practices, we will need a mixture of new ideas about the future and wisdom drawn from the lessons of the past.


Many ambiguities surround the concept of CSR, including what business practices count as responsible behaviour(Vogel 2006, pg 4). According to him activities associated with corporate virtue typically represent firms' efforts to do more to address a wide variety of social problems than they would have done in the course of their normal pursuit of profits. He argued that there is no consensus on what constitutes virtuous corporate behaviour because "some companies may label as "CSR" initiatives they were planning as part of their normal business activities-- reducing energy use, for example--while for others a business decision may have multiple causes, some more narrowly market-driven and others reflecting social pressures or ethical concerns".

Further ambiguities of CSR lies in the term 'society' which is often use in CSR definitions. A business' 'society' within which it operates, which defines the number of stakeholders to which the organization has a 'responsibility' is relative. The society may be broad (even global), as in the case of a multinational oil company that has to be careful of its impact on global environmental conditions, or narrow as in the case of a small mom and pop grocery store. It may also depend on the industry in which the firm operates and its perspective (University of Miami, 2007). It is for this reason that the concept may be seen as vague or imprecise, and why there exist various definitions of the term. (Journal of Business and Public Policy Volume 1, Number 2;Spring 2007)

There are a number of related terms or vocabulary often associated with CSR. It should not be surprising to have various authors refer to this very concept differently: 'corporate' or 'business responsibility,' 'corporate' or 'business citizenship,' 'good corporate citizenship,' 'community relations,' and 'social responsibility.' From the available literature, it is fair to conclude that consistent definitions, labels and vocabulary have yet to be solidly established in the field of CSR.


The triple bottom line captures the essence of sustainability by measuring the impact of an organization's activities on the world. A positive triple bottom line reflects an increase in the company's value, including both its profitability and shareholder value and its social, human and environmental capital (Savitz.A.W, etal 2006).

"People, Planet and Profit" are used to concisely describe the triple bottom line and the goal of



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