The Present and Future of Corporate CitizenshipDr. Simon Zadek is a co-founder of the Institute of Social and Ethical Account Ability and the author of numerous books on the subject of corporate responsibility. The role of business in society has become one of the most important public interest issues of today, and The Corporate Citizen explores the underlying aspects of the social and environmental performance of corporations. Zadek writes that corporate citizenship is a direct outcropping of the dynamics of the New Economy, and suggests that the new civil governance will grow out of a web of local, national and international private-public partnerships.
Sustainable development is one of the most important challenges being faced by many companies today, and Zadek suggests that the global business community will have to undergo fundamental changes to address the issue. In The Civil Corporation, Zadek seeks to find out how much corporations should be expected to actively contribute to providing social and environmental benefits, and how this contribution should be realized. The first half of his book offers a close look at the rise and current state of corporate citizenship in the world, and the second half provides an assessment of his research and offers ways corporations can most effectively contribute to sustainable development.
So Much Good, So Much BadIn just a few decades, people have become taller, faster and stronger. Developing countries are seeing dynamic jumps in life expectancy, adult literacy and declining infancy mortality rates. On the other hand, the natural environment is suffering while the climate is changing, half of the world's original forest cover has disappeared, and the use of natural resources is mushrooming, along with levels of waste and emissions. Examining how so much bad can exist in a world with so much good, Zadek presents the idea of corporate citizenship. He writes, "Corporate citizenship is about business taking greater account of its social and environmental - as well as its financial - footprints."
Based on current trends and the recent history of corporate citizenship, Zadek offers these skeptically optimistic peeks into the future of the corporate citizen:
Corporations Must LeadZadek writes that civil corporations must take the lead in creating processes that are embraced by all businesses, and codifying best practices and building oversight that works to ensure implementation across the entire business community. The Civil Corporation provides evidence and research that makes these two points:
The Civil Corporation provides a solid platform from which the responsibilities of corporations can be observed and reckoned with on a wider scale.
Why Soundview Likes This BookAlthough Zadek's lofty language requires intense concentration to dig through, his sound points are specific, well-researched and worth the extra effort. By supporting his ideas on a foundation of pertinent factsand theories, he tackles the complex problems facing corporations today and creates an academic source from which further discussions of these crucial matters can take shape. The Civil Corporation lays thegroundwork that will help drive corporations to develop viable business strategies and practices that can enable businesses to address "the aspirations underpinning sustainable development."
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