I would here like to highlight an article written by Mathew Lien wherein he has argued on how reputed companies likes Volkswagen have manipulated pollution levels of its cars by designing "DEFEAT" software to fool both regulators and customers. Mathew states that while the German car giant was engulfed in all this wrong doings, on the contrary, its annual report was fully packed with lovely stories describing projects which Volkswagen ha backed and charities it supported. Also, Volkswagen was globally ranked as the 11th best company for its CSR work. Mathew says "CSR has become a Racket and a dangerous one. It allows companies to parade their virtue and look good while internal standards are allowed to slip. Infact, the Social Responsibility of companies is very simple - to make good products, to honour their contacts and to pay their staff and suppliers on time. Everything else is just a SMOKESCREEN".
While there were some initial disturbances at Volkswagen including the removal of its Chief Executive (who was later reinstated) on the emission scandal, it remains to be seen what happens to the fate of Corporate Social Responsibility at Volkswagen going forward. Whether Volkswagen will diligently work on the CSR projects and be considered as a Progressive, Inclusive & Caring Corporate or continue to believe in a CSR smokescreen, is something which would very clearly decide the future of the German Giant and its perception in the world.
The myopic view of organisations for making financial gains is simply not worth pursuing as the eyewash practices on CSR will certainly not be sustainable and such corporate would be exposed soon. We have examples of many companies to refer, which once used to be in the 'Fortune 500 List' but, are no where appearing in the list now. The reason is simple - mere ignorance of the CSR tool to achieve sustainable progress towards People, Planet & Society. The Mantra is simple - Corporates need to imbibe in their core strategy the concept of not just Financial Returns but also Social Return (SROI) to remain Relevant & Sustainable.