The term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was developed back in1960s as a part of corporate responsibility to comply with legislations in order to protect consumers, employees, and other stakeholders in the community where corporations operate. However, the scope of the CSR has been limited to the core values of enterprises in maintaining business ethics and compliance of regulations while maximizing their profits. It was not until the turn of the twenty first century, when a major transformation started taking place in facing the new business challenges duly attributed to the rapid globalization, information revolution and climate change. Those new challenges are rapid population growth, environmental degradation, global warming, growing scarcity of economic resources while the spread of technological advancement, frequent financial crises at global scale, the bandwagon of information sharing in digital age, rapid social and economic transformation, and more. In the face of these new challenges, the focus of corporate responsibility has also been shifted in recent years from its core traditional values of compliance and business ethics toward a conscious integration of socio-economic issues, environmental issues, and social innovations. The integration of these new concepts into the traditional business models has become the central focus of strategic management of corporations. Business experts and academia have dubbed this new approach as sustainable entrepreneurship to add real values to business and society. Therefore, the CSR has become a major strategic and integral part of sustainable entrepreneurship that goes far beyond the compliance of regulations and public relations. In this context, Rene’ Schmidpeter (2014, p. 131)* considered the CSR a voluntary exercise as a responsibility of sustainable enterprises to redefine their business goals to align with their policies and society to meet the ecological challenges and social transformation. Schmidpeter further emphasized that a sustainable entrepreneurship must integrate those challenges into the business model to address the interests of the stakeholders as a prerequisite for adding the maximum economic values to the society.
Therefore, the notion of the CSR has become an integral part of sustainable entrepreneurship of strategic management, which is no longer limited to commercial enterprises, but also extended to public institutions, academia, and international development organizations. The acceptance of the term CSR in broad perspectives of economic and social development is one of the key strategic approaches the ISDI has considered to engage the leaders and practitioners in the field of economic and social development of developing nations, with special focus in the development issues of South Asian nations. The ISDI has undertaken a major initiative to extend the conversation on this important topic to all stakeholders in order to a have serious dialogue and thus find the best ways to develop an effective development strategy by implementing the concept of the CSR.
* Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Business Success through Sustainability by Christina Weidinger, Franz Fischler, and Rene’ Schmidpeter; Springer, 2014, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London.