Corporate social responsibility can be defined broadly. It can be anything from a company being aware of the pollution that its production factory is putting out, or it can be as simple as having an interest in the educational system in the local area. At its core though, corporate social responsibility or corporate citizenship is a plan of action that a company has toward its environment and the community.
Companies practice this in a wide variety of ways, more than the two examples I already gave. The book uses TOMS shoes as an example of a company that is heavily invested in its plan for corporate social responsibility. TOMS is not only donating money into a need, it is putting the need, which is providing shoes for children that wouldn’t already have them, at the center of the business model. So in a way, when the world’s children all have shoes, TOMS shoes business model would not work, because it is constantly working from this need that is socially responsible. That is why so many people the shoes. It is not always because they look good. It is because it makes people feel good to give back. Especially less fortunate children.
Most companies are not like TOMS though. Most companies will pair up with groups like the United Way or the Salvation Army and give money and sometimes volunteer work to be socially responsible.
In any case, this will create a positive outlook from consumers toward the company. It shows consumers that at least on the very surface level of things, the company cares more than just getting its next dollar, that it has a vested interest in the worlds problems and the needs of those around them.
I think that any good business would practice this, it should never hurt a company. The only way I could see it backfiring were if the company were taking advantage of a situation to appear socially responsible.