Corporate Social Responsibility: Distinction or Distraction?

Members of the Toms Shoe team deliver 10,000 pairs at a Buenos Aires soup kitchen in Argentina. Photograph by Ali Burafi/AP Photo

Is it more socially responsible for U.S. businesses to protect American jobs or provide employment for impoverished people in developing countries? To shun genetically modified foods or endorse their role in ameliorating malnutrition? To power their fleets with petroleum or use electricity generated by coal? Making judgments about which position is “right” is a slippery slope, because, like fair trade and social justice, corporate social responsibility is a fuzzy, malleable, eye-of-the-beholder concept.

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