In the long history of business, corporate social responsibility is a relatively new concept. For a long time, companies believed their only responsibilities were to make as much money as possible and maximize value for their shareholders.

Strategic planning and corporate social responsibility is a form of management in which companies take the ethical aspects of their business operations into consideration. They incorporate these social concerns into their business strategies and are more conscious of their roles in society and their communities outside of business.

More than just obeying the law, corporate social responsibility involves a business taking proactive steps to improve the quality of life for its employees and community. Different companies will select a different social responsibility strategy from each other, but they all focus on four ethical aspects of business: economic, ethical, legal and philanthropic.

Economic Social Responsibility

An economic social responsibility strategy begins with making sure a company is sustainable, which in turn means it is profitable. Not only does a company need to make a profit to satisfy its shareholders, it also must make enough money to pay its employees a respectable wage.

It should also be the company's responsibility to make sure it addresses issues such as gender wage discrimination. Outside of its employees, economic social responsibility involves paying appropriate business taxes and meeting other financial commitments.

Likewise, corporate economic responsibility includes businesses finding inefficiencies in their operations that waste capital, and implementing processes that improve efficiencies and reduce this waste.

Ethical Social Responsibility

Values and ethics in strategic management are important. Being ethical means companies must be aware of society's values and standards and operate in a manner that is conducive to those. Inside the workplace, this could include paying a living wage, ensuring safe working conditions, abiding by all labor laws and being willing only to do business with companies with similar ethical principles – not purchasing products from a factory that uses child labor, for example.

Being an ethical business also means taking into consideration a company's environmental impact and doing its job to limit forms of waste. As environmental issues grow on a global scale, it is increasingly essential that companies are aware of how they contribute to these issues.

Companies should analyze the processes they use and proactively do what they can to reduce their environmental impact. This is especially important for companies that dispose of waste, leaving a carbon footprint.

Legal Social Responsibility

The legal segment of corporate social responsibility revolves around making sure that companies are aware of and abide by all local, state and federal laws. Companies must comply with safety and labor laws put in place by regulators. It is the duty of the company to make sure they remain knowledgeable of any changes to the laws.

Being mindful of legal obligations can protect a company's reputation and limit the amount of time and money it has to spend in potential legal fees. Part of these legal responsibilities is always making sure the company meets its tax obligations.

Philanthropic Social Responsibility

Corporate philanthropic responsibility involves using a company's time and resources to make investments in the communities where they operate.

These investments could be in the form of scholarships and other educational assistance, or other notable local causes.

Many businesses choose to solely donate money to particular causes that are aiming to bring about social change, while others will attach their name and brand to causes they strongly believe in as a company. It is common for large corporations to have in-house departments that manage and coordinate the company's philanthropic efforts.