Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Gang Guo

Relational Format



This thesis aims to demonstrate the unique circumstances that China poses for the development of socially responsible business in China. Socially responsible business is a concept that has emerged in Western nations in recent years, due to the growing environmental and social consciousness of consumers and their increasing demands for companies to meet higher standards in this regard. Socially responsible business refers to those corporate entities that use the market to stimulate change in peoples' awareness of and attitudes toward a certain social issue and, ultimately, consumer behavior and habits. China's irresponsible corporate environment has resulted in harmful and threatening consequences, and the development of socially responsible business is needed to reverse this unsustainable trend. This thesis identifies the key drivers of socially responsible business, surveys the state of those drivers in China, and draws conclusions about the likely evolution of socially responsible business in China in the coming years. The conclusions demonstrate the important roles that different actors must take for this evolution to take place. The Chinese Communist Party recognizes the need for change within the corporate world, yet its rhetoric and regulations regarding corporate social responsibility are vague and do not have the institutional support for implementation and enforcement. Civil society, a medium through which socially responsible business has developed in other nations, is growing with the environmental and social awareness of citizens, yet still remains closely monitored and restricted by the government. Ultimately, Chinese consumers will be the key to reversing the irresponsible business environment, just as they have been in other nations. We are already beginning to see the roots of this movement with consumers expressing that they are no longer willing to accept the status quo; however, they must channel these demand into their purchasing decisions in order to truly incentivize the Chinese business community to become more socially responsible.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

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