Business Ethics and CSR

Business Ethics and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

In charge for this group are:

Kristian Høyer Toft
Assistant Professor at Department of Learning and Philosophy

Tom Børsen
Associate Professor at Department of Planning, Copenhagen

Finn Arler
Professor at Department of Planning
Head of Research Centre for Ethics in Practice

’The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’; economist Milton Friedman stated in a famous article in The New York Times Magazine in 1970. Nowadays, the general opinion is, that business also has an ethical responsibility, besides just earning money. There is every indication that we are in the middle of a wave of ethics where business voluntarily chooses to incorporate social responsibility and ethics. Some businesses take advantage of the situation and try to “brand” themselves by CSR and ethics without any real action in that di-rection, as it is known from the examples of ‘greenwashing’. Critics of the CSR-wave are con-vinced that it is senseless to expect businesses to be ethical. The debate shows that business ethics and CSR are both theoretically and practically seen as controversial ideas.

This subject group differs from other research approaches, e.g. the sociological and the strate-gic approach by focusing on the special ethical aspects of CSR.

  • The relation of ethics and economy: is ethics essential when working with CSR?
  • Politic philosophical and ethical perceptions of CSR: conservative philanthropy, social liberalism, market liberalism,      and ideology critical perceptions
  • Business as an ethical actor in corporate citizenship
  • The competitive state facilitates the ethical corporate social responsibility, e.g. The Danish Government’s Action Plan    for Corporate Social Responsibility, 2008 and 2012
  • The role of ethics of acknowledged definitions of CSR, e.g. the European Commission’s Definition
  • Ethics and globalisation: responsibility in the supply chain
  • Ethics related to global standards for CSR, e.g. human rights, the UN Global Compact and John Ruggie’s ’protect,          respect and remedy framework’
  • The collective ethical responsibility: how is it possible for a collective agent, a business to be responsible?
  • Ethics, philosophy in organizations and management
  • The relation of CSR, ethics and sustainability: climate, energy and the transition to-wards sustainability

The subject group intends to examine how the ethical reflections of business’ role in society and technology development can be transformed into education initiatives within CSR.

Activities of Business Ethics

EBEN Skadinavia Annual Meeting 19 - 20 January 2015 (See Program)