The CSR concept has grown tremendously in importance and significance. Firms have become more and more motivated to become socially responsible. The CSR initiatives have often been considered as driven by the moral imperative to undertake activities that are good for society and that enable the individual to act as a good corporate citizen. However, because of recent scandals, the concept of strategic CSR has been developed. Researchers have discussed the idea of CSR as a strategic behavior and denoted that such concept could be strategically involved. As the moral motive views CSR as a moral obligation (duty), the strategic motive holds that CSR contributes to the firm’s long-term benefits. The literature distinguishes between two main CSR strategies: Symbolic and substantive. While the substantive CSR involves actual and real changes implying tangible activities using the firm’s resources, the symbolic CSR refers to social or environmental initiatives that a firm undertakes within an impression management context to show ceremonial conformity and appear to fulfill society’s expectations without costs or changes in the business processes. Indeed, the Greenwashing concept is often used to indicate the divergence between symbolic (talk) and substantive (walk) actions.
Part of the book: Corporate Social Responsibility