Journal Article

Corporate social responsibility, business strategy, and the environment

Forest L. Reinhardt and Robert N. Stavins

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 26, issue 2, pages 164-181
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/grq008
Corporate social responsibility, business strategy, and the environment

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We examine the concept of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest within the environmental realm, with particular focus on the case of the United States by addressing four key questions. May they do so within the scope of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Can they do so on a sustainable basis, or will the forces of a competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? Should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities (i.e. is this an efficient use of social resources)? We address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal and business scholarship.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; voluntary environmental performance; M140; L510; Q5

Journal Article.  9208 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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