The two essential elements of Corporate Social Responsibility are usually: 1. Actively serving stakeholders (community, customers, suppliers, employees), not just shareholders. 2. Doing more than compliance with law (which is assumed except in unusual situations), toward voluntary standards that exceed legal minimums. A third element is increasingly being added - compliance wth voluntary CSR standards set by multi-stakeholder initiatives and monitored by accredited certification bodies.
ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS OF CSR
Wikipedia: CSR=(1) Concern for all stakeholders (2) beyond what the law requires.
CSR Asia: CSR=a company's commitment to operating in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner whilst balancing the interests of diverse stakeholders. Mallen Baker: CSR=Business operating so as to have a positive impact on society.
Michael Hopkins: CSR="treating the stakeholders of the firm ethically or in a socially responsible manner" "to create higher and higher standards of living, while preserving the profitability of the corporation". [Unlike the EU and ILO, Hopkins leaves open the option that CSR could be legislated.] Heledd Jenkins: Smaller businesses don’t like the “corporate” part of CSR, but they like the concept of being socially responsible.