The paper proposes a normative reinterpretation of the stakeholder concept. It argues that all stakeholders are morally considerable, and only those parties are stakeholders, which are morally considerable. Business organizations affect the fate and survival of natural ecosystems and the life conditions of present and future generations thus nature, society and future generations should be included among the stakeholders of business.
The paper employs Hans Jonas' theory of responsibility for redefining social responsibility of business. Jonas' imperative of responsibility implies that business has a one way, non‐reciprocal duty caring for the beings which are under the impacts of its functioning. A controversial World Bank case is analyzed for showing what the imperative of responsibility and the extended stakeholder framework imply.
The paper presents the implications of the extended stakeholder framework for the transformation of business. It is argued that business should be sustainable, pro‐social, and future respecting. That is, business should contribute to the conservation and restoration of the natural world, to the development of human capabilities and to the enhancement of the freedom of future generations.
The extended stakeholder framework developed in the paper may help scholars and practitioners to treat issues of sustainability, pro‐socialness and future generations in one coherent model of business.
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