Roberts Calls for Better Transparency of CSR Iniatives

Companies should acknowledge that they are seeking to increase profits and shareholder value, even as they practice corporate social responsibility, James Roberts of the Heritage Foundation suggests.

Roberts explains the CSR not distract a company from its goal of increasing profitability. Instead, the research fellow at Heritage Foundation's Center for International Trade and Economics writes that CSR should complement this goal by being a transparent initiative where corporations show their consumers how much of the money they pay goes to CSR activities.

Corporations should also have their CSR operations audited and the reports published, suggest. More importantly, he states that the following should be observed:

• Companies should inform the public of the true benefits and costs of CSR.

• Shareholders should demand transparent accounting of CSR corporations.

• Politicians should use transparent taxation processes to fund government services instead of relying on CSR activities from corporations.

The use of taxation processes, Roberts explains, may stop large corporations from using CSR to influence local politicians in recipient countries - a practice he says is common in emerging economies now.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.