The term ‘corporate social responsibility’ was coined in 1953 within Howard Bowen’s book; Social Responsibilities of the Businessman (Bowen, 1953). Thus one could be forgiven for believing that it is a recent phenomenon. However, the concept of CSR has a much longer lineage than generally perceived; indeed the concept of CSR is as old as the history of business itself. For example; commercial logging operations and laws to protect forests can both be traced back almost 5,000 years (Brass Center, 2007). King Hammurabi of Ancient Mesopotamia in around 1700 BC is known to have introduced a code in which builders, innkeepers or farmers were put to death if their negligence caused the deaths of others, or major inconvenience to local citizens (Asongu, 2007). In the intervening time, history has recorded the grumblings of Ancient Roman senators about the failure of businesses to contribute sufficient taxes to fund their military campaigns (Asongu, 2007). In 1622 disgruntled shareholders in the Dutch East India Company, are said to have started issuing pamphlets complaining about management secrecy and “self enrichment” (Brass Center, 2007).
Asongu, J. (2007). The history of corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business and Public Policy , Volume 1, Number 2 (Spring 2007).
Bowen, H. R. (1953). Social Responsibilities of the Business Man. New York: Harper.