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Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Université catholique de Louvain via edX

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Overview

Driven by global crises in financial, economic, and governance systems, companies all over the world devote massive resources to their corporate social responsibility (CSR). But what is CSR? What does it mean, and what does it involve? Do stakeholders really care, and if they do, how should companies communicate with them? In uncertain modern climates, CSR is a crucial driving force of a (r)evolution in business.

If you are interested in the relationship between business and society, this course is for you! It is especially relevant for industry, public policy, and academic professionals working on CSR, as well as students following a traditional business curriculum who are interested in key value questions. The content is also accessible for consumers who are curious about how to make informed decisions while pursuing their own well-defined, long-term, responsible consumption goals.

This course addresses CSR in two ways:
  • As a reflection of corporate self-awareness
  • As a source of innovation and a means to deal with heightened competitiveness, demands for sustainable development, and shifts in international governance
By presenting insights from CSR experts, from both academia and practice, this course provides a way for managers, consumers, and citizens to acquire in-depth insights and critical perspectives on companies’ CSR activities and communications. The multi-industry case study structure of this course enables participants to confront the challenges facing today’s managers as they seek to develop and communicate their own CSR initiatives. Dedicated discussion forums also are available for participants to present personalized CSR cases.
To help participants manage and communicate about CSR with various internal and external stakeholders, this course seeks to: 
  • Support current and future business leaders in their efforts to make responsible leadership, sustainable production, and consumption central to their corporate vision.  
  • Help citizens to function more effectively as informed watchdogs and responsible consumers. 

Syllabus

Becoming familiar with CSR
  • What is the purpose of a company?
  • What is CSR?
  • What are the differences between CSR and the concept of shared value creation?
  • Who are stakeholders?
  • How can we identify relevant stakeholders and their expectations?
  • What are some criticisms of CSR?
Implementing CSR
  • How should companies implement CSR?
  • What are some success factors and obstacles to CSR implementation?
  • What is the role of stakeholder dialogue?
  • What is the value of CSR for business?
Communicating CSR
  • Why, or why not, should companies communicate about their CSR?
  • Which channels of communication should they use?
  • When should they communicate?
  • What are some recommendations about the content of the CSR message?
  • What is CSR-washing?
  • Which recommendations exist for a credible CSR communication?
 Reporting CSR
  • What are the frameworks available in terms of CSR reporting?
  • What is the current state of legislation?
  • How can we assess the quality of a CSR report?
Impacting consumers
  • In what conditions does CSR affect consumers?
  • Who are the “responsible” consumers?
  • What are the barriers to responsible consumption?
  • What drives responsible consumption?

Taught by

Valérie Swaen

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