Corporate social responsibility is a vital aspect of the business model for corporations and also small businesses. In other words, it makes smart sense to have a CSR program, which helps explain why as reported by Giving USA, corporations provided nonprofit organizations $20.77 billion as of the latest reporting. Additionally, Millennials and Gen Z have pushed the public to demand and expect more regarding social causes, meaning that businesses have been encouraged to no longer merely provide lip service toward social good efforts, which are viewed as essential to the best interest of society.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, there was a time when business leaders spoke about CSR, but it was not something that was genuinely ingrained in the DNA of companies. That’s changed. Today, it makes good business sense to take a stand toward helping improve the outcomes for the lives of the people in the communities where they operate. To that end, smart business leaders understand that CSR is an essential aspect of their business planning. It’s also necessary, including at the board level, to demonstrate in a measurable way how the funds given toward CSR initiatives are making a difference with results. All of this takes special expertise, knowledge, and training.

CSR in the Classroom

One of the trends that were predicted for this year related to how CSR was going to become more critical for people to learn within a classroom environment. Workers and the public exist in a world of enormous change and complexity, with issues related to diversity, equity, sustainability and ethics taking center stage. Because of this, leading schools and also local community colleges have increased and expanded their training for leaders. These programs and others are intended to educate people on issues related to CSR, including good governance and accountability.

Top CSR Programs in the U.S.

CSR is a competitive advantage for companies. It’s also a strategic way to impact the bottom line of corporations and even the lives of people in the communities where these companies operate. Some of the top programs for obtaining an education on corporate social responsibility include the following.

Harvard Business School educates leaderswho want to understand how to address the complex and pressing issues affecting societies today. The programs HBS offers help leaders understand missions, attract support and, crucially, scale operations.

SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University offers its students a focus on sustainability. The program helps business leaders understand how to address global challenges in ways that are competitive and profitable using rigorous business analysis concerning social and environmental sustainability.

Wharton Social Impact Initiative helps leaders understand how to create evidence-based impact. The focus of their programs is to provide students with training opportunities that will help them develop business-driven solutions to build a better world.

Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkley provides its students with a CSR program that helps leaders become change agents. The learning includes experiential training concerning CSR and sustainability with additional programs offered by the Center for Responsible Business at Berkley.

Center for Social Innovation at Stanford Graduate School of Business offers students training concerning social change and the environment. Its programs aim to provide an understanding of how to make an innovative social impact with knowledge obtained through research, education and experiential learning.

Although these are a few of the top-rated schools, with an expensive price tag, there are plenty of schools and institutions across the country that are offering business leaders excellent training concerning corporate social responsibility and sustainability. For two good places to begin figuring out which program might be right for you, take a look at QS Top MBA and College Choice. Also, check out the programs that are offered by your local college or university within their business schools.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)

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