CORPORATE social responsibility is important in checking any undesirable practices in the management of companies, according to a visiting professor from the Nottingham University.
Malcolm McIntosh said major corporations from all over the world, especially the European Union were instilling corporate social responsibility into their business strategies.
The collapse of Enron has shown how crucial it is for companies to adopt corporate responsibility in the running of their businesses, McIntosh, who is a teacher on corporate citizenship, sustainability and accountability, said in an interview with StarBiz in Kuala Lumpur.
He pointed out that corporate social responsibility referred to the attention corporations gave to community development, environmentally-friendly products and processes as well as responsible employee relations.
McIntosh said there had been a clamour for greater corporate social responsibility among the general public in view of the erosion in trust and consolidation of businesses in the aftermath of corporate scandals.
As such, we feel that that there is a need for large corporations to be more open and transparent, in addition to showing that their corporate policies stress on responsibility, he said.
McIntosh observed that many Malaysian companies had included corporate social responsibility in their agenda as well as policies and a growing number of local companies were embracing such an approach.
Citing an example, McIntosh said BP, which began as a company dealing in fossil fuels, had adopted a revolutionary corporate image as an energy company in line with the global direction and emphasis on clean energy.
BP is aware that fossil fuels would eventually be depleted and it is now developing renewal energy resources.
McIntosh said the world had become very connected and that many products and services transcended national boundaries and cultures.
Many consumers will now insist that the products they use are not manufactured through the exploitation of workers or using ingredients that could cause environmental damage.
We must look at the bigger picture now as businesses and production processes should be done ethically and responsibly, McIntosh said.