While there may be no single universally accepted definition of CSR, each definition that currently exists underpins the impact that businesses have on society at large and the societal expectations of them. Although the roots of CSR lie in philanthropic activities (such as donations, charity, relief work, etc.) of corporations, globally, the concept of CSR has evolved and now encompasses all related concepts such as triple bottom line, corporate citizenship, philanthropy, strategic philanthropy, shared value, corporate sustainability and business responsibility.
This is evident in some of the definitions presented below:
The EC defines CSR as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. To completely meet their social responsibility, enterprises “should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders”
The WBCSD defines CSR as  “the continuing commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.”
According to the UNIDO , “Corporate social responsibility is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives (Triple-Bottom-Line Approach), while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders. In this sense it is important to draw a distinction between CSR, which can be a strategic business management concept, and charity, sponsorships or philanthropy.
Even though the latter can also make a valuable contribution to poverty reduction, will directly enhance the reputation of a company and strengthen its brand, the concept of CSR clearly goes beyond that.” From the above definitions, it is clear that:
- The CSR approach is holistic and integrated with the core business strategy for addressing social and environmental impacts of businesses.
- CSR needs to address the well-being of all stakeholders and not just the company’s shareholders.
- Philanthropic activities are only a part of CSR, which otherwise constitutes a much larger set of activities entailing strategic business benefits.
 1 http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainablebusiness/corporate-social-responsibility/index_en.htm
 http://www.wbcsd.org/work-program/businessrole/previous-work/corporate-social-responsibility. aspx
4 Brundtland Commission’s Report, 1987