This article originally appeared on Prof. Susskind's blog, September 13, 2016. Used with permission from author.
I am trying to build a MOOC (an open course on line) that will help anyone engaged in real estate development, or any aspect of city redevelopment, think hard about their social responsibilities. To date, most discussion of social responsibility focuses on what is called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). That is, what do corporations need to do to meet their social responsibilities? CSR is basically a form of “corporate self-regulation” or “active compliance” with the “spirit of the law,” “ethical standards” and “national or international norms”. By now, after several decades of discussion (and some serious scholarship), CSR advocates are prepared to make the case that corporate actors will have an easier time attracting the workers they want, enhancing their reputations and differentiating their brand, reducing regulatory scrutiny and improving relationships with their suppliers if they take environmental sustainability seriously, get involved in the communities where they operate (often through charitable giving) and avoid false advertising (and engage is what is known as ethical marketing). So, if corporations do “the right thing,” engage in corporate philanthropy and behave ethically they can count themselves as socially-responsible.