Corporate social responsibility: pros and cons

Corporate social responsibility is a popular topic these days. It is also called sustainable development and means that as a company you not only take into account the profit, but also the people inside and outside the company and the environment and nature. This all sounds very good, but there are also disadvantages.

What is CSR?

Many companies nowadays practice sustainable development, also known as corporate social responsibility (CSR). In short, this means that companies focus on the 3 P’s: people, profit and planet. People stands for the people inside and outside the company. Profit stands for economic performance and planet means that the company also takes nature and the environment into account. At the moment, CSR is mainly important for the image of companies, but in the future it may happen that the government will make sustainable development mandatory. That is why many companies are already responding to this, so that they do not suddenly have to make major adjustments.


Of course, sustainable development has many advantages. After all, there are many companies that participate and more and more. The benefits do not only apply to the company itself. Parties that are not directly involved in the company can also experience benefits from corporate social responsibility. The advantages within the company are:

  • The company’s image improves
  • More respect from employees
  • Company can become more innovative
  • More positive publicity
  • Social awareness

Some benefits outside the company:

  • Less harmful to nature
  • Less waste is produced
  • More pleasant living environment for the neighborhood


Although CSR is very popular nowadays and has more and more proponents, it is not all positive. There may be negative consequences of sustainable development, especially for the company itself. Partly because of this, not all companies in the Netherlands are starting to implement sustainable development. Some disadvantages of corporate social responsibility:

  • It is often more expensive
  • Not all customers are willing to pay more for a sustainably developed product
  • A lot of investment needs to be made in the beginning
  • It doesn’t suit all companies


Corporate social responsibility is not suitable for all companies. When companies really want to go for it and are fully committed to it, it can be a success. But companies that only want to start sustainable development to improve their image and do not want to invest much time and energy in it, should not start. There are too many disadvantages for these companies. If companies receive negative publicity because, for example, they pollute their environment or do not treat their employees well, corporate social responsibility could be a good solution. The company may have to invest a lot, but if everyone is fully committed to it, the image can improve and people will have a more positive impression.