In a globalising world, companies are exposed to an ever more complex web of stakeholder groups, whose interests and expectations they are expected to manage. This is not all one-way traffic. The long-held belief, recently espoused by The Economist,2 that financial performance conflicts with social and environmental performance is being challenged by companies themselves. In addition to being seen as a way to manage costly reputational and regulatory risks, leading companies and entrepreneurs see well managed corporate responsibility as a way to improve performance and create new business opportunities. The traditional ‘externalities’ of economics, usually defined, and often still taught, as outside of business’ remit, are steadily becoming very real factors in corporate decision making. However, despite these developments, integrating corporate responsibility into the mainstream operations of the vast majority of companies is a challenge that remains to be met.
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