Investing into the Future

Traditional CSR Has Outlived Itself


08 Aug 2013 | Maximilian Martin | Sustainability

Four megatrends make traditional CSR less and less significant. According to Maximilian Martin, a more comprehensive approach should take its place, where companies can contribute to solving social problems through their core business practices. At the 4th World Young Leaders Forum in Beijing, he will present his ideas about sustainable capitalism.

Companies will continue to assume their social responsibility (CSR), but in a different way. The starting point will no longer be the idea to give something back to society beyond what is legally required: in addition to “social responsibility,” the focus will shift to “social opportunities.”

In particular, there are four major trends presenting opportunities for new sustainable value creation:

  • the inclusion of the long-neglected poor populations (Bottom of the Pyramid) in the value chain;
  • the growing importance of LOHAS (“Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability”), i.e. consumers interested in high quality and sustainability;
  • the transformation towards a green economy;
  • the reconfiguration of the welfare state.



Key steps towards a new understanding of corporate social responsibility

The potential outcome of this paradigm shift in our understanding of CSR is far more ambitious than the traditional goals of CSR – more ambitious in terms of scale, social impact, the goal to achieve financial return, and the leverage potential for both business and society.

You can find the 24-page report “CSR’s New Deal: A Blueprint for Your First Hundred Days in the World of Impact Economy” (Impact Economy Working Papers Vol. 3) on the Social Science Research Network. There is also a Russian and a Spanish version available.