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This book deals with the role of international standards for corporate governance in the context of corporate social responsibility. Based on the fundamentals of moral theory, the book examines governance and CSR in general, addressing questions such as: Is “good governance” not affected by moral concerns? How do the principles and practices of CSR standards adhere to or conflict with insights from business ethics and moral theory? To what extent do the standards and governance models provide normative guidance? Do the standards and governance guidelines provide an adequate means of benchmarking and auditing? Are these standards a help or a hindrance to stakeholder engagement and transparency? The book provides insightful and thought-provoking answers to these and many other important questions concerning CSR standards, and offers a valuable resource for practitioners, academics and students at business schools and other institutions.



Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance


Chapter 1. The Relationships Between CSR, Good Governance and Accountability in the Economy of Communion (EoC) Enterprises

The chapter aims to propose a reflection on the new frontiers of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the principles and practices of good governance that are based on the experience of the Economy of Communion (EoC) enterprises which can be defined as companies with an “ideal motive” in that they are the results of a charismatic founder (Chiara Lubich) and the fruit of an ethical substratum, that directs every field of human behavior and, therefore, that economic behavior too.
The experience of EoC enterprises was initiated in Brazil in 1991 to solve poverty problems near the São Paulo area, and now it has developed all over the world with 1,000 enterprises that are located in every continent.
After presenting the theoretical framework, the study is based on the empirical analysis of two cases of Italian EoC businesses (Ridix spa and Rainbow Library Engraved in Val d’Arno-FI (Florence)) in which the principles of communion and reciprocity enter as fundamental elements of the mission, governance and accountability. A specific attention has been addressed to the mechanisms (operating procedures, decision-making processes and the logic of power) relative to the governance, trying to outline how the relationship develops dynamically with the CSR and the communion which is declined in this context as: dialogue, trust and reciprocity. The comparative perspective in which the cases are presented highlights the different economic results that are achieved in spite of the same intense application of CSR and the EoC pillars in managing the businesses.
The reflections that emerged contribute to deepen the knowledge of a phenomenon which has been studied by scholars in various fields, to offer insights on the coherence of the enterprise’s governance according to the EoC project guidelines and to diffuse good examples of a new culture of solidarity.
Maria-Gabriella Baldarelli, Mara Del Baldo, Caterina Ferrone

Chapter 2. Legitimizing Corporate Social Responsibility Governance

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) governance initiatives and instruments like ISO 26000, the European Multi-stakeholder Forum on CSR, or the National CSR Strategy of the German government have been created to address negative socio-economic and ecological effects associated with the globalized economy.
CSR governance instruments are soft law and depend on a voluntary adoption and implementation by organizations. A crucial success factor of soft law is legitimacy, which enhances governance effectiveness by increasing the chances for norm adoption by the norm addressees. Yet, legitimacy has long been overseen by CSR governance research leaving its positive effects on public acceptability and governance compliance widely out of sight.
We argue that the lack of legitimacy analysis in CSR governance research leads to an underestimation of the democratic, participatory potentials within global governance and of the potential empirical impacts of CSR governance instruments and initiatives.
With this paper, we are contributing a normative concept as well as an empirical analysis of legitimacy designs of selected CSR governance initiatives. Empirical methods include document analyses, expert interviews, and participant observations. Our outcomes and recommendations provide scholars as well as practitioners with a better understanding of how to design and how to manage legitimized CSR governance approaches and thereby support the effectiveness of governance in the field of CSR.
Sarah Jastram, Julia Prescher

Chapter 3. Maintaining the CSR-Identity of Sustainable Entrepreneurial Firms

The Role of Corporate Governance in Periods of Business Growth
This chapter focuses on the maintenance of the CSR-identity of sustainable entrepreneurial firms (SEFs) during periods of business growth. Our aim is to explore to what extent corporate governance mechanisms can be seen as effective mechanisms to maintain the CSR-identity of growing SEFs. To this end, a comprehensive literature review is conducted to obtain conceptual insights, which are subsequently empirically illustrated by a multiple case study of SEFs (N = 7). We conclude that the following barriers to business growth might have an impact on the CSR-identity of SEFs: overtrading/uncontrolled growth, control and delegation, decentralization and formation, indirect expression of identity. Furthermore, we conclude that the following mechanisms of corporate governance might prevent or compensate for the dilution of the CSR-identity of SEFs in periods of business growth: strategy, human resource management, organizational culture, formal monitoring, coordination, media involvement and social monitoring. Finally, we provide recommendations for practitioners, based on our results.
Myrthe Roelofsen, Vincent Blok, Emiel F. M. Wubben

Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethical Values


Chapter 4. The Lure of Corporate Virtue

In this essay I explore the notion that corporations are moral agents that may aspire to virtuosity. If corporations must lose their innocence as natural moral agents do, then they too may enter a moral life cycle. Since loss of innocence may result in a sense of care about one’s behavior, one may expect corporations to manifest the affect of care. In my view the 18 corporations that made the Built-to-Last list exemplify how corporations do care about their core ideology. Using Merck and Company, Inc. as an example I discuss one way that ethicists may turn the care of corporations about their mission statement to the advantage of the entire moral community.
For those corporations that qualify as corporate persons I assume that corporate virtuosity is a good that may be publicly recognized, and it may be valuable to corporations. I also assume that corporate virtuosity is a status that is achieved over time through testing and by comparison with their peers. For instance, some corporations do seem to have the virtuosity of being in the top tier of the best places to work. Likewise when some corporations ask their shareholders to vote against a shareholder resolution on ethical conduct, management may argue that the corporation follows its own ethical code of conduct. I want to suggest that when corporations set forth ethical guidelines for behavior in their mission statement they are creating a program for the development of corporate virtuosity. How corporations respond to ethical crises and how they aspire to excellence will determine whether they are making progress toward corporate virtuosity or if not.
Paul Eddy Wilson

Chapter 5. Social Audits and Global Clothing Supply Chains: Some Observations

This study provides some preliminary insight in relation to the use of social audits by the global clothing and retail companies that source garment products from developing nations. In the era of globalisation, companies based in developed nations have transferred their production locations to many parts of the developing nations. At the same time, there are widespread global stakeholder concerns about the use of child labour, inadequate health and safety standards and poor working conditions at many of these production locations. Social audits appear to be a tool used by companies to monitor working conditions and to ensure that manufacturing takes place in a humane working environment. The study finds that companies use social auditing in order to maintain their legitimacy within the wider community.
Muhammad Azizul Islam

Chapter 6. Employee Volunteering as an Element of Corporate Social Responsibility: The Evidence from Polish Listed Companies

The concept of CSR is implemented into business practice with the use of different operational and strategic schemes such as environmental protection actions, education and information initiatives, social dialogue programs. The interest in CSR and employees’ engagement in management pictures the shift in the role of companies in society and economy. It also represents significant changes in perception of companies’ dedication to their social performance, stakeholder policy and social dialogue. Employee volunteering is an essential important component of CSR and an important theme in management studies as well as in corporate activities. The paper delivers the review of the literature on employee volunteering and discusses its programs in companies as a component of CSR pointing out standards and recommendations for their implementation. The paper also provides results of the qualitative research on employee volunteering activities undertaken by the 30 largest public listed companies in Poland addressing the issues of employee participation in management and governance. It discusses the employee volunteering policy and programs adopted by listed companies referring them to the post-socialist and post transition reality of Poland.
Maria Aluchna

Chapter 7. Multinational Corporations in Developing Countries: Bringers of Working Standards or Modern Slaveholders

The socio-economic role of multinational corporations (MNCs) in developing countries is heavily disputed. One the one side, they are regarded as agents of change that are able to generate economic and social benefits for the local population especially through the provision of employment. On the other side, however, the employment provided is often considered to be a modern form of slavery due to poor working conditions and below-living wages.
In our paper we discuss whether MNCs are bringers of working standards that lead to improved working conditions or if they are modern slaveholders. For this purpose, we first discuss the relationship between MNCs and working standards, particularly with regard to organizational factors that influence the application of standards. Afterwards, we describe existing standards and their weaknesses. In the fourth part, we then turn to empirical studies which have examined to what degree working standards are actually implemented, before we end with a short conclusion and an outlook. We find that the application of standards is rather mixed among MNCs and that they are far from being significant bringers of change, despite particular efforts that are being made.
Matthias S. Fifka, Anna Frangen-Zeitinger

Chapter 8. CSR Standards and Corporate Ethical Virtues: A Normative Inquiry into the Way Corporations Integrate Stakeholder Expectations

With the growing concern of both corporations and their stakeholders towards social responsibility reporting, CSR standards and guidelines have become a common point of reference for practitioners, regulating bodies and scholars alike. However, research in the business ethics field seems to have given less attention to the way ethical concepts and models relate to such CSR standards.
The paper evaluates the principles of three most prominent CSR standards and guidelines – Global Reporting Initiative, United Nations Global Compact, and ISO26000 – through the lens of the Corporate Ethical Virtues Model (Kaptein M, Ethics management: Auditing and developing the ethical content of organizations. Springer, Dordrecht, 1998; Kaptein M, Eur Manag J 17:625–634, 1999; Kaptein M, J Org Behav 29(7):923–947, 2008; Kaptein M, Hum Relat 64(6):843–869, 2011). Namely, it inquires how the principles and reporting criteria pertaining to these CSR standards help corporations embed seven ethical virtues which represent organizational conditions for ethical conduct: clarity, consistency, achievability, supportability, visibility, discussability and sanctionability. The paper concludes that cross-reporting using multiple standards is the key for corporations to achieve the organisational virtues advanced by the Corporate Ethical Virtues Model and in this way to effectively integrate stakeholder expectations within the corporate framework.
Mihaela Constantinescu, Muel Kaptein

Reporting Corporate Social Responsibility


Chapter 9. Is It Time for Integrated Reporting in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises? Reflections on an Italian Experience

In recent decades, several contributions have addressed the debate on the diffusion of the integrated reporting approach. Why would a company decide to combine its financial, social and environmental performance into a single report? Does the integrated report represent the best tool of accountability and the best solution? If so, why and for which companies? Studies and empirical research in this area have been mainly addressed to large enterprises, neglecting the integrated reporting of small and medium-sized business (SMEs) and the factors that may facilitate the adoption and its effectiveness.
Departing from these premises, the work focuses on the relationship between financial reporting and social, environmental and sustainability reporting both through a literature review and the empirical analysis, relative to a case-study and based on the action research methodology, which has been recently developed in the context of social and environmental research, through the direct involvement with the company under investigation.
The paper aims to fill the aforementioned gap and to offer lines of reflection on the benefits capable of being derived from the adoption of integrated reporting (greater clarity about relationships and commitments, deeper engagement with all stakeholders, better decisions with economic, social and environmental merit and lower reputational risks) and their relationship with specific SMEs’ attributes. The empirical analysis – referred to an Italian SME, not listed, which is among the first to have introduced the global report- allows us to identify the benefits of integrated reporting and verifying how these stem from the orientation to sustainability and to the level of responsibility of the entrepreneur. The findings of the study suggest that when an authentic commitment to social responsibility, sustainability and transparent disclosure exists, the integrated report improves corporate disclosure and acts as a driver for stakeholders’ dialogue and stakeholders’ commitment.
Mara Del Baldo

Chapter 10. CSR Reporting Seen from an Ethical Perspective: An Empirical Investigation

The objective of this chapter is to determine whether the current practice within CSR reporting provides relevant information that enables stakeholders to evaluate the CSR commitment of companies. In order to address this issue, we have conducted an empirical investigation examining the CSR reports of some of the world’s largest companies. Based on the data, we argue that CSR reporting does not enable stakeholders to evaluate the CSR commitment of companies. The main problem is that companies do not present or defend sufficiently clear baselines, i.e. stakeholders are mostly kept in the dark when it comes to the level of a company’s social and environmental obligations. In addition, the variety of different values, e.g., marginal groups in the workforce, and reducing CO2 emissions, makes CSR reports very hard to evaluate. The lack of a common CSR currency means that we need guidelines on how to compare the different values.
Claus Strue Frederiksen, Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen

Chapter 11. Development of Sustainability Reporting Frameworks: The Case of Australia

The aim of this chapter is to explore the literature regarding sustainability and extended reporting frameworks, to catalogue various typologies of reporting frameworks, to investigate the motivation by organisations to adopt such frameworks, and to identify the extent of their use in Australia.
We start by defining corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability and provide a brief overview of the historical development of the concepts of sustainability. Central to this is understanding stakeholders and their importance as a motivator for organisations to adopt sustainability reporting frameworks.
We find that traditional accounting frameworks are an inadequate reflection of a business as they focus solely on economic performance. We outline the background to the development of alternative reporting frameworks proposed in sustainability academic literature that encompass both economic and social performance. We identify and catalogue 11 reporting and social accounting guidelines, and focus on the development of one particular framework, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). We conclude that such guidelines provide for a more complete picture of total business welfare.
We find the main motivating factor for adopting sustainability disclosure frameworks is to communicate with company stakeholders the performance of management in achieving long-run corporate benefits, such as improved financial performance, increased competitive advantage, profit maximisation, and the long-term success of the firm.
Nigel Finch

Chapter 12. An Evaluation Framework for CSR Reporting

The objective of this chapter is to present a framework for evaluating the quality of CSR reports. The evaluation framework is based on three lines of argument. First we argue that CSR reporting ideally ought to enable the stakeholders to evaluate a company’s CSR commitment in four different ways, including cross-sector comparison. Second, we argue that CSR concerns – or ought to concern – the ethical responsibilities of companies, implying that CSR reports should be evaluated on the basis of their ability to provide a fair and reasonably transparent sketch of the ethical behaviour of a given company. Third, we argue in favour of a specific normative framework for evaluating the current practice of CSR reporting. Finally, we use the normative framework to sketch the contours of a framework for evaluating the quality of CSR reports.
Claus Strue Frederiksen, Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen

Instrumental Corporate Social Responsibility


Chapter 13. Shareholder Rights and Zero-Sum CSR: Strategies for Reconciliation

CSR involves the management of a corporation using the resources of that corporation to promote the welfare of non-shareholders (disadvantaged members of the community, the global poor, animals, future generations, etc.). In some cases CSR is used as a tactic to augment the competitive strength of a firm. We can call this “instrumental CSR” or “shared-value CSR”. This is where promoting non-shareholder welfare is seen as the best way of maximising shareholder value in the long term. In other cases, however, promoting the welfare of non-shareholders may be expected to compromise the economic interests of shareholders to some extent; one group benefits at the expense of the other. Call this “zero-sum” CSR. If we accept the so-called principle of shareholder primacy, Zero-Sum CSR appears morally problematic. This principle says that shareholders have a unique and privileged moral status in the corporation. More specifically, it says that shareholders, in virtue of their special relationship with management, are entitled to have the corporation governed in a way that is aimed at maximising their economic interests. My aim is to carefully distinguish three argumentative strategies for reconciling Zero-Sum CSR with the moral rights of shareholders.
Ned Dobos

Chapter 14. The Importance of Phronesis to Corporate Social Responsibility

Accepting that corporate social responsibility (CSR) demands that when deliberating about business any economic agent ought to take into account the interests of all stakeholders, i.e. clients, consumers, suppliers, employees, among others, CSR challenges economic rationality, understood as a maximization of individual utilities. CSR is best described under the Aristotelian conception of rationality, i.e. phronesis. Actually, phronesis is the practical wisdom that relates individual interest with the collective. From this conception of rationality the main claim of CRS – to consider others’ interests in economic deliberation – not only follows necessarily the reasoning of any business agent, but also coheres easily with moral theory if this is defined from an Aristotelian perspective rather than from a utilitarian or deontological perspective.
Roughly, if utilitarianism implies the maximization of well-being of the majority, it is ethically acceptable to discriminate some stakeholders in order to increase the well-being of the majority (e.g. employees vs. clients). On the other hand, besides the well-known issue of the possibility of comparison utilities, utilitarianism does not offer a rule to choose utilities of equal value. From a deontological perspective not only is it hardly acceptable to link corporate social responsibility with profit – ethical claims are not compatible either with the consideration of consequences of our practices or non moral considerations – but also Kantian deontology does not offer a rule to decide about competing duties. From moral deontology corporate agents can face the dilemma whether to increase profit and neglect CRS or to be socially responsible and to ignore profit.
Facing these difficulties, I argue in my paper that not only does CSR cohere better with the Aristotelian conception of morality, grounded in phronesis, than with others normative ethical theories, mainly utilitarianism or Kantian deontology, but also that under Aristotelian ethics CSR is at the heart of an agent’s practice in corporations.
Regina Queiroz

Chapter 15. Talking Global Justice: The Importance of Critical Social Theory in the African Business Paradigm

Cultural diversity is tacitly regarded nowadays as the bane of efforts to internationalise criminal law (Thomas Nagel, Philosophy and Public Affairs 33: 113–147, 2005) or to globalize even the most rudimentary principles of corporate social responsibility [CSR]. In this essay it is proposed, to the contrary, that cultural diversity is best regarded as a vehicle for discovering fundamental convictions about the possibilities for a trans-national meaning of economic justice rather than the main obstacle to its realisation. Guidance is taken from principles of indigenous models of good governance and diplomacy that characterise contemporary West Africa’s rich cultural diversity and which alleviate the severe economic pressures of its many histories. The possibility of global economic justice requires a conceptual change: from defining global justice as a fixed system of uniform procedures and implacable rules applied impartially and universally, to regarding the very idea of justice as the outcome of moral contestation. Global economic justice as an ideal is treated here as a collective and necessarily incompletable work in progress, emerging by ongoing rigorous analytic confrontation internationally between divergent traditions and contrary value systems. Focus will be on correcting shortfalls in the assumptions sustaining the recent history of international human rights documents, and proposals offered in the discourse of transnational corporate social responsibility theorists. Since cultural diversity obtains within social hierarchies just as aggressively as it does across nations, testimonies are required early in the process of treating global justice as an ongoing deliberative project, so that judicial interpreters come to know something about underclass experience and conditions prevailing in the informal economic sector as it expands worldwide.
Helen Lauer

Chapter 16. Liberal CSR and New Marxist Criticism

The term ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) is considered by the new Marxist left to be a self-defeating oxymoron. In this chapter, the new Marxist challenge to CSR as a meaningful, coherent concept and practice is discussed. In the wake of the financial crisis the critique from the Marxist-inspired left tends to replace the scepticism of the libertarian right (Friedman 1970). The legitimacy of business in society is at stake, and the critical left is well placed to debunk the integrity of business’s claim to social responsibility.
To provide an overview of current Marxist inspired CSR thinking, this chapter introduces the Hegelian inspired critique of a New Spirit of Capitalism (Chiapello 2013) as well as the critique of ideology targeted at the neo-liberal project of corporate responsibility (Žižek 2008; Fleming and Jones 2013).
Subsequently, two possible liberal ‘revisions’ to the Marxist inspired scepticism of CSR are presented and discussed: first, the theory of a social connection model (Young 2006), and then the theory of deliberative democracy and political CSR (Scherer and Palazzo 2011).
Finally, the chapter concludes with a plea to reconsider the classical Marxist concept of exploitation.
Kristian Høyer Toft

Chapter 17. Corporate Social Responsibility in the European Union: An Assessment of CSR Strategy

This article investigates the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in corporate governance. In the context of CSR’s function in corporate governance, this study specifically focuses on the Europe 2020: European Union’s Growth Strategy, and its corresponding directives related to CSR. Not only are the Member States of the EU requested to comply with the regulations, and laws, but the candidate countries are also expected to improve their sustainability performances as well as their national frameworks to foster social responsibility (European Commission, Europe 2020 – EU – wide headline targets for economic growth. Europe 2020. http://​ec.​europa.​eu/​europe2020/​europe-2020-in-a-nutshell/​targets/​index_​en.​htm, Accessed 15 Mar 2014, 2011).
The study investigates the European Union’s 2020 Growth Strategy with a driven focus towards CSR targets to provide a comprehensive framework of what the EU has accomplished. In doing so, this paper seeks to depict a picture based on a real industry: the mining industry and the details of 2014 Soma Disaster in the Coal Mining industry in Turkey. With an attempt to demonstrate how CSR may be improved in terms of environmental as well as corporate governance at the EU level, a strategic assessment is provided.
The authors present case study evidence from the Mining industry and the Soma mining disaster which occurred in 2014 in Turkey that shows that established and newly formed governmental regulations and reforms relating to health and safety of the workers in the mining industry and the conditions of the mining shafts can be instrumental in implementing humane, civilized, ethical and acceptable norms in the form of corporate governance. These reforms potentially lead to collaborative cooperation of the companies with the governments and form corporate governance, part of a sustainable, ethical, and socially responsible conduct that facilitates implications of safety measures culminated by a health, and safe labour conditions in a given country in the context of the industry.
The study incorporates contemporary literature and documents of the European Union’s Growth Strategy, which portray the expectations and directives of the body as to the CSR practices of the member and candidate countries, emanating from the Europe 2020 configuration. In doing so, it takes a process approach and provides much needed qualitative evidence in CSR research via a case from the mining industry.
Hakan Karaosman, Asli Yuksel Mermod, Ulku Yuksel


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