In today's economic and social environment, issues related to social responsibility and sustainability are gaining more and more importance, especially in the business sector. Business goals are inseparable from the societies and environments within which they operate. Whilst short-term economic gain can be pursued, the failure to account for longer-term social and environmental impacts makes those business practices unsustainable.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be understood as a management concept and a process that integrates social and environmental concerns in business operations and a company’s interactions with the full range of its stakeholders.
The objective of this course is to introduce the participant to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility today, operationalising the term and ensuring a cohesive definition of CSR and its applications for corporate sustainability. The learning materials and tools available through the courses allow participants acquire relevant introductory knowledge that will help them and their organizations to better address social responsibility concerns through a United Nations perspective and from therein promote and accelerate adherence to the UN Global Compact principles and progress on the Millennium Development Goals. The UN and its work on CSR are therefore highlighted showing how the UN Global Compact fits into the CSR approach, as well as the role UN agencies have played in moving forward the concept of CSR.
By the end of this course, participants are expected to meet the following learning objectives:
- To define and summarise the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility;
- To review alternative definitions of CSR and their strengths and limitations;
- To assess comparative needs for CSR; and
- To distinguish between the application of CSR in various practical situations.
The course consists of ten modules:
- Introduction & History of CSR
- CSR Definitions Explored
- Comments on the Definitions of CSR and Sustainability
- Why CSR and Where is CSR Today?
- The United Nations on CSR
- Should CSR be compulsory?
- ISO 26000
- Is CSR philanthropy?
- Applying Definitions in Practice - Practical Examples of CSR (Cadbury, NEC, Wal-Mart, Novo Nordisk Case Studies)
- Testing Understanding
This e-Learning course provides participants with (a) compulsory reading materials; (b) additional reading materials; (c) bibliography of references; (d) glossary of terms; (e) external links to internet resources; (f) discussion forum; (g) one end-of-course quiz to test understanding and provide final grading.
The course requires approximately a 20-hour time investment over a period of two weeks and invites participants to read a number of articles, to watch videos, to reflect on their social and economic environment, and to go through case studies analysis that are provided throughout the course. Upon registration, access to the course is granted during four weeks.
By the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of the need for CSR and be able to explain alternative definitions, their strengths and limitations.
There is an end-of-course quiz intended to help participants self-assess their level of comprehension. Participants who obtain a final score of at least 80% will be awarded a certificate of completion.
The course aims to address the needs of professionals in private companies, NGOs, International Organisations and Governments who are currently involved in CSR, or would like to be involved in CSR, and wish to apply and embed the concept of CSR in their institution.
"I really like it and I think there is a real need for such a course. Excellent layout and content, and the right balance between theory and practice. Congratulations! Dr. Thomas Osburg. Head, Corporate Responsibility, Intel, Europe.
The course is estimated to take an average of 2.5 days of consecutive learning time. However, the recommended amount is one hour per business day, or four - five weeks depending on the participant’s schedule and daily obligations. To allow for more flexibility to complete the readings, quiz and assignments, participants are given access to the course for three months. The registration deadline has been extended from December 7th, 2012 due to high demand and to allow more flexibility for registration from participants.