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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A Resource Guide

The discipline of CSR broadens the responsibility of businesses beyond their obligation to stockholders—to society and the environment. This research guide includes lists of historical resources, current standards, and company/facility information.


Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, refers to the belief that businesses have an obligation to society beyond their commitments to their stockholders or investors. In addition to generating profits, companies are expected to have some responsibility to stakeholders such as employees, customers, communities, and the environment. CSR includes corporations being economically responsible, improving labor practices, embracing fair trade, mitigating environmental damage, giving back to the community, and increasing employee satisfaction.

This guide provides an overview of CSR. It is not intended to be comprehensive; rather, the goal of this guide is to provide credible starting points for research, and to assist in further study of this topic.

S.D. Ehrhart. "Business is business". 1904. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This guide is one of several research guides produced by Business Reference Services focusing on current business and economics topics. Consult our Doing Company Research guide for information on active companies, and our Guide to Business History Resources for information on inactive companies. For resources on sustainable businesses please see the Green Business: Sources of Information Guide. Researchers may also be interested in consulting the library guide Business and Labor History: Primary Sources at the Library of Congress.

Some sources are only available on-site at the Library of Congress, although your local public or academic library may also have access to the material. If you plan to visit, you'll need to get a reader registration card.

About the Business Section

Part of the Science & Business Reading Room at the Library of Congress, the Business Section is the starting point for conducting research at the Library of Congress in the subject areas of business and economics. Here, reference specialists in specific subject areas of business assist patrons in formulating search strategies and gaining access to the information and materials contained in the Library's rich collections of business and economics materials.