Ellen Van Velsor
The urgent issues of our time are global. Failing business models, climate change, and the increasing disparities between rich and poor are brought into instant awareness by rapid and interconnected communication. People everywhere are revisiting the role of business in society because unlike government, business is itself global, with unprecedented reach and influence. Business organizations are being asked, and increasingly required, to operate in more globally responsible ways—paying attention to their financial, social, and environmental impacts. Taking on this broader focus demands a systemic, long-term view, and a new understanding of both organizational leadership and business operations.
We define a business that addresses financial, social, and environmental issues as a globally responsible organization. Although there are many ways to describe global responsibility (sustainability, corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, community relations, corporate stewardship, and triple bottom line), in this chapter we use the terms global responsibility (GR), globally responsible leadership (GRL), corporate social responsibility (CSR), social responsibility, and sustainability interchangeably. All are meant to suggest that businesses must be more than just profit-seeking entities; they have an obligation to benefit society, limit the detrimental impact of their operations on the environment, ...