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Global Corporate Citizenship

Working With Governments and Civil Society

Courtesy Reuters

Compared to just a decade ago, it is now common for businesspeople to talk about social responsibility and the importance of being good corporate citizens. Many business leaders today consider it critical to engage with shareholders, the communities in which their companies operate, and others affected by and interested in what they do. The diverse activities needed to respond to these expanded duties are widely referred to by the catchall phrase "corporate social responsibility." It incorporates a host of concepts and practices, including the necessity for adequate corporate governance structures, the implementation of workplace safety standards, the adoption of environmentally sustainable procedures, and philanthropy.

Blanketing these various responsibilities with the single term "corporate social responsibility" is an oversimplification that has led to a great deal of confusion. It is necessary to distinguish between the different types of corporate activities, so that the work companies do to engage in society is

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