October 05, 2020 Feature

Corporate Social Responsibility and Multinational Corporations: An Emerging Vehicle for Doing Public Good

Irma Russell and Roger Martella

There is no debate that the world’s 40,000 multinational corporations (MNCs)—corporations that maintain a presence in more than one country—cause significant impacts far beyond their rooftops and supply chains. For over half a century, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has focused on how to assess, quantify, and report to the public on concerns such as the environment, employee safety, human rights, and, increasingly, climate change. More recently, CSR has highlighted the unparalleled powers of MNCs to do public good while serving their shareholders. The next era of CSR should go a step further to focus on the largely untapped opportunity for MNCs to go beyond the efforts of individual corporations and evolve to help MNCs collectively leverage their resources to achieve outcomes that no company and no government could realize alone in pursuit of solving global challenges.

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