Scoping the evolution of corporate social responsibility (CSR) research in the sustainable development goals (SDGS) era

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Sustainability (Switzerland)


© 2020 by the authors. Amidst a contemporary culture of climate awareness, unprecedented levels of transparency and visibility are forcing industrial organizations to broaden their value chains and deepen the impacts of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. While it may be common knowledge that the 2030 agenda cannot be achieved on a business-as-usual trajectory, this study seeks to determine to what ends the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have impacted CSR research. Highlighting linkages and interdependencies between the SDGs and evolution of CSR practice, this paper analyzes a final sample of 56 relevant journal articles from the period 2015-2020. With the intent of bridging policy and practice, thematic coding analysis has supported the identification and interpretation of key emergent research themes. Using threedescriptive categorical classifications (i.e., single-dimension, bi-combination of dimensions, sustainability dimension), the results of this paper provide an in-depth discussion into strategic community, company, consumer, investor, and employee foci. Furthermore, the analysis provides a timely and descriptive overview of how CSR research has approached the SDGs and which ones are being prioritized. By deepening the understanding of potential synergies between business strategy, global climate agendas and the common good, this paper contributes to an increased comprehension of how CSR and financial performance can be improved over the long-term.

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