Document Type


Publication Date

January 2011

Publication Title

Issues in Brief, No. 19


Business | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


With more than 60,000 multinational corporations in the world today — along with more than 800,000 subsidiaries and millions of suppliers — the web of private enterprise is wider and more connected than at any other time in history (Ruggie 2004, 510). At the same time, concerns are mounting about the sustainability of the world economy, as well as our ability to address global challenges such as climate change, pollution, poverty, disease, and inequality. While in the past people have often looked to government to protect society from such threats, today it is clear that government cannot do the job alone. Harnessing the power of business to improve social and environmental conditions across the world has thus become a priority for policymakers and other stakeholders, and it represents a central aim of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement.


This article originally appeared in Issues in Brief, No. 19, 2011, published by The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. Permission to post article here was granted by publisher. The article can also be found online at this link.