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More than a feeling?. What we know about the impact of CSR. Beyond CSR? Business, poverty and social justice Conference May 22, 2006 London, UK. Michael Blowfield. What does CSR do?. Making the earth more sustainable?. Restoring trust in corporations?.

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more than a feeling

More than a feeling?

What we know about the impact of CSR

Beyond CSR? Business, poverty and social justice Conference

May 22, 2006

London, UK

Michael Blowfield

what does csr do
What does CSR do?

Making the earth more sustainable?

Restoring trust in corporations?

Upholding international human rights?

Reducing poverty?

Reducing corruption and improving public governance?

Increasing business profitability?

Limiting corporate malfeasance?

slide3

“The most manifest sign of wisdom is continued cheerfulness”

– de Montaigne

slide4

‘The cocoa trade is a European success story.’

  • Major companies buy cocoa from developing countries
  • Poor producers benefit from huge European chocolate market

‘Cocoa trading is an efficient tool to overcome poverty and to reach the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.’ - Nestlé

however
However …
  • … industry does not collect comprehensive data about cocoa producers
  • … industry has no clear methodology to quantify its impact
slide6

‘Fairtrade is a European success story.’

  • Major companies buy fairtrade produce from developing countries
  • Poor producers benefit from large European fairtrade market

‘Fairtrade is an efficient tool to overcome poverty and to reach the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.’ – Traidcraft/IFAT

some limitations
Some limitations
  • Range of issues
  • Who identifies the issues
  • Lack of systemic footprint analysis
  • Failure to identify key impacts
  • Falsification of information
  • Who verifies the information
  • Economic consequences trump ethical motivations
slide9

‘… if corporate responses to social misery are evaluated only in terms of their instrumental benefits for the firmand its shareholders, we never learn about their impact onsociety, most notably on the intended benefits of [corporate responsibility] initiatives.’

(Margolis & Walsh)

  • What we want companies to tell us …
  • what companies want,
  • what they are doing to achieve those ends, and
  • whether we can believe what they claim.
  • (Mitnick)
framework for understanding what we are being told
Framework for understanding what we are being told
  • Big picture information
    • Environmental impact
    • Social impact
    • Economic impact
framework for understanding what we are being told1
Framework for understanding what we are being told
  • Business case
  • Big picture information

‘When growth was easier, this idea of simply ignoring critics was okay. [But] as the share price slows, you have to get to the point [where you take social and environmental issues seriously].’

Lee Scott, CEO, Wal-Mart

framework for understanding what we are being told2
Framework for understanding what we are being told
  • Business attitudes, awareness and practices
  • Big picture information
  • Business case

 Improved knowledge about how to monitor labour conditions amongst suppliers;

 Improved knowledge about what to monitor, and what the elements are of the chains (e.g. that there are homeworkers and smallholder farmers as well as large factories and commercial farms who are parts of the supply chain);

 Raised awareness of labour rights issues;

 Influence on legislation (e.g. ETI played an important role in the UK Gangmasters’ Act);

 Increased overall level of monitoring of overseas’ suppliers; and

 Enhanced capacity of companies and others to implement voluntary labour standards.

framework for understanding what we are being told3
Framework for understanding what we are being told
  • Impact on other stakeholders
  • Big picture information
  • Business case
  • Business attitudes, awareness and practices
framework for understanding what we are being told4
Framework for understanding what we are being told
  • Impact on CSR
  • Big picture information
  • Business case
  • Business attitudes, awareness and practices
  • Impact on other stakeholders
framework for understanding what we are being told5
Framework for understanding what we are being told
  • Impact on CSR
  • Big picture information
  • Business case
  • Business attitudes, awareness and practices
  • Impact on other stakeholders
where to next
Where to next?
  • Emerging initiatives
    • Enhanced Analytics Initiative
    • Social Footprint
    • TrueVa
  • Is it in anyone’s interest?
  • Defining the magic number
slide17

More than a feeling?

What we know about the impact of CSR

Michael Blowfield

Beyond CSR? Business, poverty and social justice Conference

May 22, 2006

London, UK

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