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Robert Strand, the executive director of the Center for Responsible Business at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, studies the emergence of CSOs and says that it can be difficult to pin down who fills that role at different companies because it might be designated by a host of related terms, like "corporate social responsibility" or "corporate citizenship."

ase in point: Nike first created a VP of Corporate Responsibility position in 1998, before renaming it a few times and ultimately landing on Chief Sustainability Officer in 2014.

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