As a Political Economy major with a concentration in Globalization I constantly learn in my classes all the injustices being done abroad by many corporations. At one point I became very angry at all that I was learning and told myself that I would not go into the business field like I had planned for the past 4 years (this was freshman year). But as I continued to read articles, books, and chat with friends, I started to gain a bit of hope. I found out that some corporations were actually concerned about their environmental impacts, their labor practices, their use of chemicals and its effect on the people who lived in the surrounding areas. The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility was then first introduced to me. The more I learned about it and what corporations where doing to improve their image and practices the more I questioned their intensions. Were they changing their practices to better their image and then increase their profits or did they really care about the bad they were doing? This is a question I still ask myself today.

As I continue to learn about CSR in my Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility & Consulting Projects course I have come to realize that CSR is a very broad term that could be used by corporations in many ways. Many use it in their annual reports to show how much money they’ve donated to impoverished communities, others talk about the long-term initiatives they’ve started, and others discuss the changes they’ve made on how they go about doing business. Of course some fail to sell themselves in a way that is appealing to everyone, but in my opinion there is a few that do a good job in changing my mind. Something that always comes up as I read CSR reports or about a company that I learned has had a negative impact abroad (especially those I’m more familiar with) and is now changing its practices is the question of how can they truly improve their image and convince the many that always saw them as the bad guys? For example Nike, Chiquita, Walmart. But believe it or not these companies are only thought of doing better in my business courses not in my Political Economy ones. I have many questions about this topic, but I have no doubt that they will get answered as I continue exploring this field of CSR.

—Erika B.

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