According to the Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, social-responsibility is defined as an ethical theory or ideology that an organization or individual has to act to benefit society at large. Social-responsibility is fundamentally the sense of duty that individuals, companies, and institutions have to perform in order to maintain a balance between making money and caring for society and the environment.
The term social-responsibility is used by corporations globally to define their actions and justify the way business is done on both a local and international scale. The term glocal, which means buying local while thinking globally, has become common vocabulary for some.According to Mason Carpenter, researcher of corporate governance and author of “Principles of Management”, social-responsibility at the corporate level often means “superficial window-dressing” of basic business practices. While some corporations and enterprises fundamentally care about the communities they serve, many use the term to beautify their organization so as to place less of a focus on not so positive actions, such as contaminating the environment or displacing local residents.
Critics argue, however, that individual social-responsibility may play a greater role than corporate ideas about sustainability and the environment. Because social-responsibility may have moral implications, some find it to be a sense of calling, or vocation, to do good for others. Judy Wang, a 3rd year student at DePaul University, mentions it is important to give back to society. “It's important to be a socially-responsible person because (society) needs good people to make up for the bad stuff. Volunteering, donating clothing, anything you can do makes a world of difference to some.”
Whether it is individuals holding a food-drive or businesses implementing eco-friendly strategies, it is worth-noting that standards have been developed to better understand social-responsibility. The International Organization for Standardization (IOS), a global organization founded in 1947 that promotes commercial and industrial standards worldwide, created guidelines in 2010 for adopting and implementing social-responsibility. However, as of 2011 less than 67% of companies follow the IOS's guidelines.
“We need to believe that our businesses are doing more than just making a profit”, Franco mentioned as his break was ending. “If they aren't doing what they're supposed to, we'll just hold them accountable.”