Corporate Sector and Social Responsibility

Corporate Sector and Social Responsibility Corporate Sector and Social Responsibility

The role of the private sector in tackling social problems in terms of corporate responsibility and in particular helping charities in sustainable development was stressed by Saideh Ghods, the founder of Mahak charity, a non-profit institution based in Tehran to support children suffering from cancer.

She pointed to the international congresses held by Mahak in the last seven years titled “Corporate Social Responsibility” focusing on sustainable development with the aim of introducing social responsibility to the private sector. Although this term was unknown at first, now it is common even in the promotional campaigns of companies, she added, reports Eghtesad news agency.

“We try to promote social responsibility in the private sector,” Ghods said, stressing that as a crucial task in achieving sustainable development, corporate responsibility should be taken seriously.  

Social responsibility is commonly defined “as an ethical framework which suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. It is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems.”

 Financial Support

So far, the Mahak charity has benefited from financial support of individuals rather than the corporate sector, Ghods said, noting that “less than 10% of private units refused to help the charity due to lack of knowledge or funds.”

Stating that the various forms of cancers are “the consequence of the growth of industrialization” she called for the establishment of more NGOs since the government is unable to provide complete support to all cancer patients.

The third congress was held in Tehran on Monday (Feb.16) to define social responsibility of the corporate sector and its consequential benefits in all areas including investments in green projects, drawing the attention of private management to sustainable growth, and to portray the international image of Iranians’ esprit de corps.


Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or sustainable responsible business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and international norms. With some models, a firm’s implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law.” CSR aims to embrace responsibility for corporate actions and to encourage a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others.

The term “corporate social responsibility” became popular in the 1960s and has been used indiscriminately by many to cover legal and moral responsibility more narrowly construed.


Proponents argue that corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from business’ economic role. A 2000 study compared existing econometric studies of the relationship between social and financial performance, concluding that the contradictory results of previous studies reporting positive, negative, and neutral financial impact, were due to flawed empirical analysis and claimed when the study is properly specified, CSR has a neutral impact on financial outcomes.

Critics questioned the “lofty” and sometimes “unrealistic expectations” in CSR. Or that CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations.

Political sociologists became interested in CSR in the context of theories of globalization, neo-liberalism and late capitalism. Some sociologists viewed CSR as a form of capitalist legitimacy and in particular point out that what began as a social movement against uninhibited corporate power was transformed by corporations into a ‘business model’ and a ‘risk management’ device, often with questionable results.