Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative (CSR) Suliman S. Olayan School of Business

​Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the belief that companies have a responsibility to more than just their shareholders. Through CSR activities, organizations look beyond narrow shareholder value maximization in search of purpose and outcomes for all stakeholders (consumers, employees, communities, and the environment). In other words, CSR is concerned with the need to connect company prosperity with broader community welfare, realizing the interdependence of business and society and that they reinforce each other in synergetic ways. 

OSB is a thought leader in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and has, since its inception, prioritized it as critical to its mission, which resulted in many pioneering initiatives pertaining to CSR in the region. OSB is the only business school in the region that has mainstreamed CSR through integrating and embedding it as a stand-alone subject matter across all its programs (BBA, MBA and EMBA). 

The OSB CSR Initiative strives to fulfill its main objectives of educating future leaders, advancing knowledge relating to CSR, and building awareness and capacity. By integrating CSR in undergraduate and graduate curricula, endeavoring in regional case studies and books pertaining to CSR, housing a series of conferences, seminars and guest speakers, and instilling the essence of CSR in the Net Impact AUB Chapter that empowers students to use their business skills in creating a positive social and environmental impact, CSR at AUB has ultimately gained momentum and is always on the outreach for continuous advancement and collaboration. 

Through its CSR Initiative, OSB seeks to mobilize a new generation of leaders who embrace the complexities of ethical integrity and moral choice, by nurturing soft skills relating to moral / ethical integrity, including stewardship, and compassion. AUB is determined to maintain its leadership role in this area, emphasizing its commitment to social progress and reform across the region. 

The Olayan School of Business is proud to be a signatory of the UN Global Compact (UNGC). OSB is committed to support the ten principles of the UN Global Compact pertaining to human rights, labour, environment and anti- corruption. OSB intends to support the Global Compact in advancing these principles, and will make a clear statement of this commitment to its stakeholders and the general public. 

The Olayan School of business is proud to be a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (UN-PRME). OSB is committed to progress in the implementation of the UN-PRME principles starting with those that are more relevant to our capacities and mission, report on progress to all its stakeholders, and exchange effective practices related to these principles with other academic institutions. ​

About CSR 

The term ‘corporate social responsibility‘(CSR) dates back to the late 1960s and 1970s but only entered global mainstream use since the publication of R. Edward Freeman‘s book, Strategic Management: a Stakeholder Approach in 1984. In a nutshell, CSR is the belief that companies have a responsibility to more than just their shareholders. Through CSR activities –donations, green’ operations, business ethics, employee volunteerism, community partnerships and corporate citizenship to name a few – organizations look beyond shareholder value alone in search of positive outcomes for all stakeholders (consumers, employees, communities, the environment). Issues that fall under the umbrella of CSR programs include sustainable development, responsible stakeholder management, fair trade, environmental protection, and ethical investment, socio-political activities including poverty alleviation, health and education in disadvantaged communities as well as traditional philanthropy. 

Progressive companies around the world are seeking to differentiate themselves through CSR initiatives that produce win-win outcomes for the business and for their societies. The most successful socially responsible companies have focused on specific stakeholders and communities, pioneering innovations in their offerings and operations that have created distinctive value for both the company and its society. Others have focused philanthropy on environmental conditions that have most influenced their productivity and therefore, the bottom line – creating shared value between society and business. 

CSR in the Middle East 

The Arab Spring is bringing about socio-political changes in the region, along with strong implications of those changes for businesses operating in the region. As incumbent regimes fall in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and other countries, businesses will play a new role, especially as state-sponsored industries no longer receive the support they used to receive under the old regimes. Therefore, this is a unique time in the history of the region because the private sector has an opportunity to create the jobs and fulfill the aspirations of millions of unsatisfied citizens across the Middle East. What recent uprisings indeed convey is a hunger for democracy and sustainable patterns of development anchored in the principles of social justice and participation to benefit the vulnerable, the poor, the marginalized and the wider population and hence a unique and timely opportunity for catalyzing private sector engagement through CSR. There are however important dynamics of change across the region and traditional forms of Islamic philanthropy are starting to cross-fertilize with new more institutionalized forms of giving advocated through Western concepts and advances pertaining to CSR.