Hi, I know I'm a bit late to the party.
Interesting choice of words...
is just a moral and ethical expectation of society
I think there is a distinction to be made between a corporation as a business entity and the people affiliated with the businesses and brands within that corporation.
The corporation as an entity has only one given objective, and that is to maximise profit.
There are many examples that fall into that category.
For example, it seems to me that tax minimisation schemes, for whichever reason, are totally socially acceptable.
A corporation will, without hesitation and more importantly, without any consideration for social implications, cut off an unprofitable branch, a production site, a sales office, engage in litigation with competitors or legislators to maximise profits.
In my view it has an obligation to do so, in order to fulfil its mandate.A corporation is a theoretical construct and as such, does not have a concept or morals or ethics.
The individual businesses within a corporation however, might well be held to account by the public and local laws.
I think times are changing for companies that are attached to a single brand.
See for example, the negative coverage Apple received because of the working conditions for workers in Chinese manufacturing plants.
Or years ago, the trouble Nike got in, over sweat shops in the Philippines.
These are global brands. Damage to the brand name means less sales.
When people start to associate Apple with suicidal workers in China, it might hurt their turnover.
So these companies will act.
They will force their suppliers to improve conditions somewhat and do enough window dressing to make the story go away and try to present themselves as a good “corporate citizen”.
However the term corporate citizen deserves a whole lot of more thought.