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Über dieses Buch

This book introduces a Finnish approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and embeds it within a broader discussion on the Nordic roots of business responsibility and stakeholder thinking. The first part of the book traces the origins of Finnish CSR from paternalism at the beginning of industrialization to the start of the welfare state. The second part discusses the characteristics of Finnish CSR in light of the cultural and societal context and structure, and the third part introduces current trends and challenges. Each section of the book includes case examples that illustrate Finnish CSR from different perspectives. The book will be of use to scholars and students with an interest in the Nordic approach to CSR.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter provides background information on Finland as a country and discusses the Nordic traditions, such as the welfare state system, as shapers of the institutional and cultural context for CSR in Finland. The three central elements of the book, origins, characteristics, and trends of CSR in Finland are introduced. Furthermore, the meaning of CSR in the Finnish context and in the Finnish language is shortly reviewed.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Origins of Finnish CSR

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Finnish Paternalism at the Start of the Industrial Revolution

Abstract
This chapter introduces the roots of Finnish CSR in the start of the industrial revolution. Some of the distinctive characteristics of Finnish industrialization are presented, such as the long coexistence of agrarian and industrializing societies, the simultaneous building of an independent nation state, and the strong role of the emerging forest industry especially in the rural areas. Furthermore, the industrialization phase is discussed as the era of the owner-managers that were central figures in the emerging factory communities. Especially in these roles, the owner-managers engaged in some of the earliest activities of social responsibility that provided the communities of workers with housing, schools, hospitals, libraries, and public infrastructure.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 3. The Nordic Welfare State as a Backdrop for CSR

Abstract
This chapter discusses the Nordic welfare state as a specific context that influences CSR in Finland. After gaining independence, the state of Finland took full control of social and economic policies, and started to introduce welfare systems such as public healthcare and equal opportunities to education. Setting up strong public institutions meant high and progressive taxes that turned the role of companies from providers of social benefits to taxpayers that supported the society by offering employment and making investments. While CSR in Finnish companies has traditionally been rather implicit, especially domestically, CSR became important early on from the point of view of Finnish state-level goals on competitiveness and innovation.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 4. The Dawn of Stakeholder Thinking in Nordic Countries

Abstract
This chapter introduces a Nordic perspective to the evolution of CSR thinking, which differs especially from the Northern American context and tradition. The characteristics of Nordic management are reflected on, along with some early Nordic examples and conceptualizations of stakeholder thinking and community engagement. Finally, the impact of Nordic institutional and cultural traditions on business culture is discussed.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Characteristics of Finnish CSR Context

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. The Public Sector: Hard and Soft Regulation

Abstract
This chapter sheds light on Finnish business regulation that forms the institutional infrastructures within which Finnish companies practice CSR. The regulations are discussed in terms of social and environmental aspects, shaped largely by EU-level laws and internationally recognized guidelines. As a specific point of interest, the Finnish innovation policy is introduced as a national agenda to increase competitiveness. The chapter also discusses forms of soft law regulation and co-regulation, including domestic and international initiatives to support the engagement of companies and entrepreneurs in corporate responsibility and sustainability.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 6. The Private Sector: An Ongoing Transformation

Abstract
This chapter gives an overview of the private sector in Finland in its current, third phase of industrial development that is mainly innovation-driven. The chapter illustrates the structure of Finnish private sector with data from Statistics Finland, Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and the European Union. Some of the distinct characteristics of Finnish private sector such as the most influential sectors, the high proportion of small (micro) companies, family-owned businesses, and cooperatives are highlighted. Furthermore, the chapter discusses the global operating environments of Finnish companies, along with recent developments in terms of startup culture and social entrepreneurship.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 7. The Nonprofit Sector and Civil Society: Conflict and Collaboration

Abstract
This chapter focuses on the role of nonprofit organizations and civil society actors, such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), professional CSR and sustainability associations, and trade unions, in furthering CSR in Finland. After describing the nonprofit sector in terms of its characteristics, history, and development, the chapter presents the case of “K Fishpaths”, collaboration between the environmental conservation organization WWF Finland and K Group, a leading Finnish retailer, as an illustration of the shift from conflictual interactions to increasingly collaborative and deep-level NGO-business partnerships. The chapter ends with a discussion on the unique role of trade unions in Finnish CSR.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 8. Media and Communication Environment

Abstract
This chapter presents the Finnish media and communication environment as a context where, on the one hand, Finnish companies communicate and report on their CSR actions and, on the other hand, are judged by their activities. Central aspects of the Finnish media environment are presented, including the media structure, media market, and media use. Furthermore, the norms and self-regulative systems of Finnish media and communication environment are introduced. Finally, attention is turned to the current trends and challenges in the media and communication environment, which are reflected on with expert interviews.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Trends in Finnish CSR

Frontmatter

Chapter 9. Positioning the CSR Performance of Finnish Companies

Abstract
This chapter presents how Finland and Finnish companies perform in global rankings on CSR and sustainability. Both country-specific and company-specific indices are introduced, along with sustainability-related reputation and brand rankings. The rankings are discussed both as an indication of consistent and internationally recognized progress in CSR, and also in terms of the limits and meaningfulness of rankings from a critical perspective.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 10. Diffusion of Global CSR Trends in Finland

Abstract
This chapter discusses global CSR trends and reflects on their current status in Finnish companies. The importance of CSR for Finnish companies and the most established practices are introduced by utilizing recent reports and analyses, especially the yearly survey on corporate responsibility by the FIBS network. Some of the most pressing CSR trends such as human rights, United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and vocal stances on divisive socio-political issues are scrutinized in more detail. The chapter includes two expert interviews that reflect on the future directions of CSR in Finland.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 11. CSR Profession in Finland

Abstract
This chapter discusses CSR from the perspective of professionalism. Finnish progress on CSR professionalization is discussed along with broader international developments. The discussion on CSR professionalism is connected to national factors such as a generally high level of education and Finnish companies’ resources in CSR activities. CSR professionalism and the roles of CSR professionals in Finnish companies are presented with insights from recent reports and analyses, especially the yearly survey on corporate responsibility by the FIBS network.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 12. Ongoing Challenges

Abstract
This chapter provides a critical examination of the progress made to date in the corporate responsibility and sustainability field in Finland. It examines companies’ activities in light of environmental problems, discussing where the efforts appear to fall short and where more ambitious business participation is necessary. Furthermore, it discusses the need for Finnish firms to continue to address social and economic challenges, such as human rights issues, especially in their global supply chains. The chapter also gives voice to a civil society organization expert who sees great variation in the ambition-level of Finnish firms’ CSR activities. Finally, emerging challenges, such as those related to digitalization, which are beginning to occupy a significant share of CSR professionals’ time, are examined.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Chapter 13. Conclusion

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the learnings from the previous chapters. As Finnish CSR is rooted in Nordic traditions, it is not a transferrable formula; yet it is possible to identify aspects that can serve as inspiration for others. The future of Finnish CSR is reflected on by pinpointing the most influential recent developments, along with a discussion on the key takeaways.
Laura Olkkonen, Anne Quarshie

Backmatter

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