What is corporate social responsibility?
As the previous answer suggested, one element of corporate social responsibility is to support various communities: 1) the community in which it is located; 2) the larger community; 3) the community that uses its products and services. Another, less obvious, social responsibility requires a corporation to create a working culture that fosters social involvement among its employees. Most corporations have budgets for donating to worthy charities, both locally and nationally, and a committee made up of employees guides the charitable process throughout a company's fiscal year. In addition, many companies create programs that encourage employees to get involved in socially conscious efforts, often at the expense of the company
Many socially conscious companies, for example, encourage employees to take time off, with pay, to volunteer their services in such charitable works as Habitat for Humanity. In some cases, the company will send a group of employees to a city like New Orleans for a week to build houses, under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity, and those employees receive their regular salary, as well as accommodations while they work for the charity.
Corporate social responsibility, then, results in a broad effort on the part of a corporation to use some percentage of its assets not to enhance shareholder value but to help those at the bottom of the economic spectrum and, perhaps more important, create conditions within the company that encourage employees to become socially responsible.
Corporate social responsibility is an obligation to the community that a company takes on. Companies aware of social responsibilty voluntarily donate to organizations. For example, a clothing retailer might support (i.e. fundraise for) a not-for-profit organization such as Free the Children, to prevent underage workers in factories. You may also have heard of the "fair trade" trend. Or companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint while running their business. Overall, corporate social responsibility contributed to the sustainable development of communities, by operating in a socially, economically, and environmentally aware manner.