|Everyone agrees that firms should obey the law. But beyond what the law requires—beyond bare compliance with regulations—do firms have additional social responsibilities to commit resources voluntarily to environmental protection? How should we think about firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? Are they permitted to do so, given their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Even if permissible, is the practice sustainable, or will the competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Furthermore, is the practice, however well intended, an efficient use of social and economic resources? And, as an empirical matter, to what extent do firms already behave this way?|
Until now, public discussion has generated more heat than light on both the normative and positive questions surrounding corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the environmental realm. In Environmental Protection and the Social Responsibility of Firms, some of the nation’s leading scholars in law, economics, and business examine commonly accepted assumptions at the heart of current debates on corporate social responsibility and provide a foundation for future research and policymaking.
Distinguished contributors to this book include Einer Elhauge and Mark Roe of Harvard Law School; John Donohue and Daniel Esty of Yale Law School; Paul Portney of Resources for the Future; Dennis Aigner of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Forest Reinhardt of Harvard Business School; Eric Orts of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; and David Vogel of the University of California, Berkeley.
The book’s editors are Bruce L. Hay of Harvard Law School; Robert N. Stavins of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and Richard H. K. Vietor of Harvard Business School.