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date: 27 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article covers different theoretical strands in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature that is particularly relevant in investigating the relationship between business and the natural environment (B&NE). A brief overview over some core areas of empirical CSR research is presented, emphasizing specific links to the environment. Instrumental theories justify CSR by demonstrating the link to traditional business imperatives. CSR is enacted at the micro level of society where agents within organizations identify and engage in specific social and environmental initiatives that support financial performance. Economic theories maintain the existing logic of business and the theory of the firm, but extend the range of legitimate inputs. Network theories challenge the narrow focus of instrumental and economic theories on economic activities of the firm as separate from, and largely ignorant of, their impact on social and natural systems. The core areas of overlap between CSR issues and environmental issues are dealt with.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, business, natural environment, instrumental theories, economic theories, network theories

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