Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Social Responsibility and Sustainability

  • Chelsey HarmerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_299


Social responsibility is a duty borne by every individual and organization to be accountable for the impact they have on the environment and the well-being of others. It is an ethical framework that outlines the obligation for every entity to act for the benefit of society at large.


The origins of social responsibility are relatively modern. Before the twenty-first century, the notion that organizations had any responsibility other than the financial duty to the shareholder was not widely recognized. In 1970, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman wrote “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud” (Friedman 1970). Friedman suggests that the only responsibility an entity has is to maximize profits within the bounds of the law. The...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BostonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Madhavi Venkatesan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA