Despite the opinions for and against corporate social responsibility, companies are increasingly involved in society, their efforts being supported by international organizations, central and local public authorities or institutions that have either initiated various different partnerships to developed social responsibility principles that can be adopted voluntarily or have various legislative initiatives.
Corporate social involvement is not a new activity; some concerns in this regard can be detected in a large number of nineteenth century, when certain industrialists in the U.S. and Europe had initiated numerous charitable and philanthropic measures for their workers and their families. (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2003, p. 16). These measures had taken on new forms and meanings in the twentieth century, following the adoption of legislation and creation of social protection systems  . Moreover, some specialists  believe that the prerequisites of the emergence of the concept of CSR's charitable actions are based on German banker Jacob Fugger, which at the end of the fifteenth century had provided accommodation for poor families (the philanthropic nature of its actions were driven by the negative attitude of local community towards the activities banker).
In the nineteenth century, a new the concept had appeared - the paternalism, according with the relations within a company must have as a model, the relationships established within a family, so a business owner or manager must be involved in the lives of employees, helping them to solve any problems they have, while employees are attached for life, to the company. The poor efficiency of this economic model had led to a new model - the welfare state, which has assumed greater involvement in the economy, along with the businesses focus on their economic role. Subsequently, the crisis of the welfare state had reminded the companies, to the public and professionals, but the companies have been criticized about their lack of concern about the external effects of their activities.
Corporate social involvement had evolved and in the twentieth century, many U.S. companies faced with a negative reaction from the public had adopted measures similar to those of German banker. Thus, Henry Ford has initiated various paternalistic programs to support recreational and health needs of employees, considering that companies have a responsibility towards society, in parallel with the objective motivation of obtaining profit. Over time, the corporate attitude towards the society in which they operate has changed, and social responsibility does not involve simple donations or philanthropic activities, but also involvement in voluntary work that not only concerns the company's economic interest but also environmental protection, welfare of clients, consumers, employees and other stakeholders.
However, some economists have denied social involvement of corporations, saying that their only objective is to maximize shareholders` profits and social responsibilities have only individuals; the companies are responsible only to shareholders and not to society in general (M. Friedman, 1970). For this reason, only shareholders - individuals, not companies, should take charitable actions. Companies are seen as artificial persons, and therefore they will have artificial responsibilities. Moreover, Friedman cataloged the businessmen and managers who talk about social responsibility as some "innocent puppets of the intellectual forces which undermine the basis of modern free society and are teaching undisguised socialism"  and CSR programs are actually promoted as a mask to justify certain expenses and actions.
In his article "The social responsibility of business is to increase profits," Milton Friedman rejects the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR), presenting several arguments: only human beings are responsible for their actions and therefore he can not accept responsibility corporations, managers have a unique responsibility for making a profit for shareholders, and social issues are the responsibility of public authorities who know best the interests of society, they being entitled to do so.
The use of corporation's resources for charitable purposes is equivalent, in view of these specialists, with the socialism. Moreover, they believe, for the most part, the apparent non-profit actions of managers are, in fact, a response for profit maximization with regard to economic, social and political pressures as they are subjected. This non-profit strategy was named social responsibility. Large private companies such as Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola or BP that are highly vulnerable in view of their activity to public criticism, are required to promote various programs to align the global social responsibility tendencies, but in this way, they transform into crypto-enterprises that are the essence of socialism. (H. Manne 2006). In fact, M. Friedman does not dispute the social responsibility programs promoted by companies, but he notes that they are determined by economic motives, purely selfish that actually have nothing to do with social responsibility. He believes that "moral value of an action is decisively dependent on the agent's deepest intentions"  and, in fact, it is very difficult to detect the original reason for these social responsibility actions: obtaining profit or respect for the interests of social groups.
The preoccupations of United Nations in promoting social responsibility
The social responsibility is a concept that has attracted the attention of international organizations such as United Nations or the OECD, but also led to increased private initiatives by corporations or other organizations, due to its implications on the sustainable and human development  .
Global Compact and principles for corporate social responsibility
Global Compact (GC) is an initiative of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which, in a speech at the 1999 World Economic Forum, launched the idea of a partnership between the institution he represent and companies worldwide to achieve sustainable development objectives that has this organization. Partnership, became operational in 2000, is supported by six UN agencies: High Commissioner for Human Rights, The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Labor Organization, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The documents that formed the basis for the Global Compact principles were: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights, Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and United Nations Convention against Corruption.
In practice, the Global Compact is a network between the various entities that have interests in social responsibility: companies, unions, government agencies, cities, civil society organizations, business associations, academic organizations etc.
Global Compact is a public-private initiative that offers companies a framework for developing, implementing and promoting sustainability principles and practices related to four major areas of concern: human rights, labor, environment and fighting corruption. Managing risks and opportunities of these four areas is considered a way to create long-term value, which is beneficial for both companies and society in general. The large number of participants, over 7700 companies and stakeholders from over 130 countries, demonstrates commitment to the principles of business supported by the Global Compact.
The adoption of these principles is voluntary, but companies that are members of the Global Compact network assumes a commitment to implement and promote these principles and in this sense, they must introduce specific measures.
- GC principles become part of business strategy to daily operations and organizational culture:
- GC principles are integrated into decision-making for the highest leadership board.
- Companies must contribute to the dissemination of development goals (including the Millennium Development Goals) through partnerships.
- Companies are required to insert in the annual report a description of how it was done to implement these principles and how they support development objectives (communication progress).
- Promotion of responsible practices GC and among partners, customers, consumers and society in general.
Universities and the UN Global Compact