Corporate Social Responsibility

This paper seeks to delve deeper into this aspect of the business, and seek answers to the critical issue of the social and environmental commitment of multinational companies, their corporate agenda and the impact of the same on their stakeholders. For the purpose of this study, the case of The Body Shop will be explored and analyzed.Contemporary multinational organizations today are caught in the middle of a heated debate, surrounding the legitimacy and credibility of their claims regarding their social and environmental commitments. In the process, they are being pushed towards including broader public goodwill, and beyond their conventional commitment towards their shareholders. However, incorporating environmentally sustainable practices within their corporate agendas and sustaining their competitive positioning in the market, at the same time, is a difficult task. Needless to mention, that not many can claim to have struck a perfect balance, without getting embroiled into controversies and their modus operandi being questioned or challenged. And the few that have managed to come close. continue to defend the righteousness of their actions.The Body Shop exemplifies one such situation, where the company seems to have got it right in the beginning, but over the years, ended up in controversies, putting the company on the pedestal, and forcing its management to justify its actions, with regard to its mission and values, which boasts of environmental and social commitment and broader public good (Rosenthal, 1994, Pp. 15 – 17). This brings up the question, whether corporate social responsibility can go hand in hand with the core corporate motive – that of maximizing profits. whether the commitment to social and environmental causes and contribution towards society can co-exist along with a commitment to the company’s stakeholders. and whether CSR is a farce or a fact? The same is discussed through the case of The Body Shop International Plc – a UK based multinational cosmetic brand, which boasts of its commitment towards the environment, via its ‘green’ and natural products and its contribution towards social and environmental causes.