Governance for corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Produced in partnership with Ardea International
Governance for corporate social responsibility (CSR)

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with Ardea International provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Governance for corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?
  • Corporate governance
  • What is CSR governance?
  • What are the implications of CSR for boards?
  • What are the key issues for investors to consider?
  • What is an in-house lawyer’s role?
  • Taking steps to develop a CSR governance framework

What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined as

  1. a company’s environmental, social and economic performance, and

  2. the impacts of a company on its internal and external stakeholders

Some companies may also refer to CSR as corporate sustainability or corporate responsibility.

See Practice Note Responsible business, corporate social responsibility and environmental social governance—a guide for companies.

Corporate governance

Corporate governance is the system by which companies are directed and controlled. The board of directors is responsible for the governance of their company. The shareholders' role in governance is to appoint the directors and the auditors and to satisfy themselves that an appropriate governance structure (e.g. accountable and transparent) is in place. The responsibilities of the board include setting the company's strategic aims, providing the leadership to put them into effect, supervising the management of the business and reporting to shareholders on their stewardship. The board's actions are subject to laws, regulations and the shareholders at general meetings. Good governance ensures that a company has operational processes and policies that are robust and responsible. It also ensures that the company has financial success as a result of the company having clear direction.

The UK is in the process of reforming its Corporate Governance Code. In August 2017, the government published its response to the green consultation paper