It’s hardly a surprise that CSR evokes differing responses in different cultures, not least as we know it does in our own. And when we add an awareness that “CSR” is really a mashup of Stages 1, 2 and 3 – philanthropy, CSR proper, and third-gen Michael Porteresque “shared value” – it gets even more complicated (and interesting).
The Apple Fair Labor decision is a straw an an interesting wind, and we should perhaps correlate it with the SOPA story that has united “the internet” against certain old economy interests in the United States and the political support they would normally expect to find. That is to say, social media and the global playing-field are flushing out issues of alignment and recalibrating risk in ways hard to have predicted and constantly shifting.
My sense is that global CSR is in a thoroughly embryonic state, especially at the grassroots (aka executive) level. But embryos are growing very fast today, and how the CSR debate is shaped – the language we bring, the extent to which clear alignment with building sustainable value is credibly claimed – will shape an emerging global situation that is very fluid indeed.