CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: CURRENT STATUS AND FUTURE EVOLUTION

Author: 

Joe W. (Chip) Pitts III

Whether or not those words were true when Kant penned them over two centuries ago, they are truer today than ever before in human history, and will resonate even more profoundly in the future. The current interrelated financial, economic, climate, energy, food, water, political, and security crises affecting the globe only highlight the historically unprecedented degree of interconnectivity and interdependence. Last year alone, the potent combination of social networking, mobile internet devices, location mapping, text messaging, video, and collaboration technologies more integrated with users’ lives have merged online and offline advocacy to inspire millions of people across the globe to protest against the Colombian revolutionaries, map the genocide in Darfur as well as the violence in Kenya, and organize strikes and civil disobedience in Egypt. The billions of cell phones in the world will increasingly be used to record, upload, forward, and display corporate and other abuses, whether of sweatshops employing child labor, pipeline leaks, trafficking of women and children, or corporate resources used to support crimes against humanity or genocide. People everywhere – even in the slums of Brazil or the jungles of Peru – can immediately see disparities in living and environmental conditions via smart phones, satellite television and internet. These new, powerful, ubiquitous, and interactive communications technologies help make possible efficient cross-border financial flows, just-in-time production, and economic globalization, to be sure; but they also empower rapid, bottom-up democratic “WikiAdvocacy” by individuals, “citizen journalist” bloggers, and self-organizing coalitions, while simultaneously allowing greater scrutiny and pressure from investors, consumers, communities, established NGOs, and other market monitors. WikiAdvocacy generally supports and works to extend existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles, monitoring and accountability mechanisms, and amounts to a powerful independent force on its own. View More