CSR: Advice for the Future

Corporate Social Responsibility has come a long way. Gerard Costa writes on Forbes that, for multinational corporations (MNCs), there is no other option but corporate social responsibility (CSR). He describes a manager of a major consumer goods MNC talking to a group of future graduates who claims that “CSR is our only strategy” (2019). The manager is appealing to the relatively high social awareness of these future workers. These future workers are more conscious of social issues such as human rights, labour rights, and climate change that previous generations. Indeed, one study notes that younger workers favour companies that incorporates CSR into their business strategy, perhaps due to increased volunteering among younger people for extra credit and to improve their resumes (McGlone et al., 2011).

Organizations that take part in the socialization of the next generation through volunteerism play roles in the increasing acceptable of CSR as a norm within the business community. This shift in the expected corporate norms by the next generation of workers, Generation Z (born in the mid-1990s, the latest generation to enter the workforce) gives MNCs incentives to incorporate CSR into their business strategy from the educated labour side of the workforce. Costa’s article mention “purpose brands”: brands that tell clients that they fulfill a social purpose (2019). If a company disingenuously cultivates this brand without fulfilling the social purpose, and people find out about it, there will be consequences: Workers who thought they were doing good by working for a company that they thought had a good human rights record will feel betrayed and lied to. In addition, consumers, especially “belief-driven buyers” who are loyal to brands that stand for something, do not like it when they find out that companies that they thought to be socially responsible are taking part in human rights abuses. In other words, bluewashing is not sustainable in the long run—looking like socially responsible companies without actually being one are only temporary solutions, given the prevalence of media and the speed of information.

MNCs need to have good CSR strategies that conform to the new emerging culture within the business community, or else fall behind and be damned by bad PR.


Costa, Gerard. (2019, March 13). Corporate Social Responsibility, Purpose Brands And Gen-Z. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/esade/2019/03/13/csr-purpose-brands-and-gen-z/#409049215849.

McGlone, T., Spain, J., & McGlone, V. (2011). Corporate Social Responsibility and the Millennials. Journal of Education for Business, 86(4), 195–200.

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