Facing up to social cost: The real meaning of corporate social responsibility

Johnston, Andrew (2011) Facing up to social cost: The real meaning of corporate social responsibility. Griffith Law Review, 20 1: 221-244. doi:10.1080/10383441.2011.10854696

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Author Johnston, Andrew
Title Facing up to social cost: The real meaning of corporate social responsibility
Journal name Griffith Law Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1038-3441
Publication date 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10383441.2011.10854696
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 20
Issue 1
Start page 221
End page 244
Total pages 24
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Taylor & Francis Australasia
Collection year 2012
Abstract This article argues that the label ʻcorporate social responsibilityʼ (CSR) should be reserved for the process by which corporations voluntarily identify and correct the costs their operations impose on society. This would exclude both voluntary measures aimed at making the world a better place and enhancing the value of corporate brands from the scope of CSR. It would allow CSR to become another – possibly more cost-effective – method of governing the negative externalities or social costs of economic activity. In support of this argument, the article examines a number of economic approaches to the governance of negative externalities through taxation, regulation and market-based bargaining. It then argues that CSR – understood as voluntarily facing up to social cost – offers significant advantages over these more conventional alternatives. However, a number of legal changes would be required before corporations would voluntarily be likely to face up to the social costs of their activities.
Keyword Externalities
Social cost
Corporate social responsibility
Corporate governance
Comparative institutional analysis
Transaction costs
Constructivist sociology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 20 Oct 2011, 11:01:39 EST by Carmen Buttery on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law