Large corporate failures in an increasingly interconnected world doesn't stay in the dark for long. Oil spills, worker's rights, carbon emissions and other such social and environmental offenses eventually come to light thanks to the Internet, technology and people who bang on the drum to make their causes known.
Nevertheless, businesses -- especially those with a global reach -- have proven that they can be a champion for good. Apple once again made headlines last week when Foxconn agreed to make changes in their labor practices. Before Apple it was Walmart and Nike, who scrutinized the source of their products to improve the working conditions of their factory workers.
Corporate social responsibility is so much more than a fad. It's a necessity. In order to survive in this global economy, where the actions of one company can have a ripple effect around the world, business leaders need to incorporate externalities into their business plan. They also need to focus their efforts in a way that makes sense for their business.
"Solving social problems isn’t about looking good and it isn’t about being a good company at heart," said Mark Kramer, founder and managing director of FSG Social Impact Advisors. "It’s about actually improving the lives of people in the world today and businesses can do that and their greatest capacity to do that is when they’re using the skills that they have as a business, the networks of suppliers and customers and investors, the technology that they can bring to bear."