Browsing by Subject "corporate social responsibility"

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  • Virta, Ari (2007)
    The research topic of this thesis is late Milton Friedman's (1912-2006) controversial claim that if corporate officials accept a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible, they yield to a fundamentally subversive doctrine that amounts to preaching pure and unadulterated socialism and undermining the basis of the free society. Logically this claim means that capitalism is a necessary condition for the existence of the free society. The aim of my study is to find out whether and on what grounds Friedman's claim is justified. The method of my study is philosophical analysis of Friedman's claim and its background on one hand, and of capitalism and the role of private property therein on the other hand, to see whether the claim is justified. The main result of my study is that Friedman's claim is justified. The movement of Business Ethics opposing Friedman and the doctrine of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) it promotes seem indistinguishable from one version of socialism, i.e. European social democracy. The opposition between the views of Friedman and the Business Ethicists springs from different approaches to the importance of protecting private property, to the free society, to man’s cognitive capacities, and to the concept of freedom. On the bottom of the controversy is man's problematic relationship with wealth: even though he knows that wealth does not bring happiness, he searches it as if it did – and gets disappointed when it does not. Instead of recognising his own unreasonable expectations as the source of his disappointment he has a tendency to find the reason outside of himself and accuse other people for being malevolent. The main sources used are Milton Friedman's book "Capitalism and Freedom" and his essay "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits". The roots of Friedman's claim are in capitalism and liberalism. The main sources about capitalism are Adam Smith's books "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" and "The Wealth of Nations", Ronald Coase's essays "Adam Smith's View of Man" and "The Wealth of Nations", Joseph Schumpeter's essays "Capitalism" and "Capitalism in the Postwar World", Mark Roe's book "Political Determinants of Corporate Governance" and Hernando de Soto's book "The Mystery of Capital". The main sources about liberalism are John Stuart Mill's essay "On Liberty" and Isaiah Berlin's essay "Two Concepts of Liberty".
  • Pensola, Annika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This qualitative study examines multimodal storytelling in online corporate stories. Corporate stories are realized in a particular genre, the About page, and moral discourse is conveyed through references to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To examine how CSR has been incorporated into corporate storytelling and how it functions within the About page, the study begins with an examination of the About page as a genre. The research data consists of stories from five Finnish companies working in the textile and apparel industry: Aarre, Vimma, Kaiko, Uhana, and Pure Waste. The companies were chosen as they share similarities regarding multiple aspects (e.g., company size, product range, and target audience). The stories were firstly analyzed for their schematic components and expressive resources (Bateman 2008, 2014), and then further subjected to critical multimodal discourse analysis (Machin and Mayr 2012) to critically examine the expressive forms used in the components. Although the layout structure varied among the stories of the data, the presence of several schematic components was constant in all stories. Based on the current analysis, the components which were present in most of the stories constitute the core components of the genre of About page: mission, essence, founder(s), foundation, products, production, and social responsibility. The analysis revealed that not only is CSR present on the pages as its own schematic component, but direct and indirect references to CSR themes were used as justification and motivation within other schematic components as well, thus framing CSR as an essential component of the corporate identity. These corporate stories cater to the consumer narrative in which social responsibility plays a central role by establishing an environment in which one can keep on purchasing new clothes while adhering to those values. The products are laden with socially responsible attributes, framing social responsibility as a fashion statement.
  • Jääskeläinen, Jannica (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The pressure toward companies to tackle the challenges of our societies has grown higher. Consumers are expecting companies not only to consider their impact on the society in form of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but to explicitly express their stances on socio-political issues. Also, while the concept of CSR is currently being reshaped, the ways in which CSR is communicated are changing. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to deepen the understanding of how CSR is communicated in the context of social media from the perspective of new CSR. The theoretical framework of this thesis builds on literature about CSR, social movements, and CSR communication on social media. The literature review constructs a framework of new CSR, which in this study means extended responsibilities that derive from the concepts of political CSR, corporate advocacy and activism. Some of the main source materials are provided by Aronczyk (2013), Baur and Wettstein (2016), London (2010) and Schrerer and Palazzo (2011). The study approach is qualitative, and the data consists of the Finnish textile company Finlayson’s Facebook posts from 2016 to 2017. The analysis is data-driven but guided by the theoretical framework. The analysis methods used are qualitative theme analysis and frame analysis. The findings of this study indicate that Finlayson’s CSR communication is a hybrid mix of traditional and new CSR. The study finds that the main CSR-related themes Finlayson communicates are environmental protection and political grievances. The first is an indication of a traditional CSR theme, and the study implies that these kinds of traditional CSR topics have now found their way into new platforms such as social media. However, political grievances imply an orientation toward newer CSR. The company addresses controversial socio-political issues and takes stances, for instance, on LGBT rights, racism and equal pay. When it comes to the ways in which Finlayson communicates CSR, this study identifies three responsibility communication frames: the credibility frame, the captaincy frame, and the cooperation frame. The credibility frame emphasizes past CSR initiatives and communication is informative and one-way by nature. The captaincy frame emphasizes the company’s future aspirations, and responsibility is personified to the CEO of the company, thus indicating forms of CEO activism. The cooperation frame emphasizes collaboration and establishing a mutual understanding between the company and its stakeholders. Furthermore, the cooperation frame mobilizes the company’s stakeholders to take action. Thus, the results imply that new CSR should be understood as an integral part of CSR studies and that the relationship between activism and CSR has become increasingly fluid.
  • Mustakallio, Vili (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study examines the climate responsibility, a sub-category of corporate social responsibility (CSR), of two oil companies, ExxonMobil and Shell. The study is a comparative case study of the climate responsibilities of two private oil companies, that makes use of academic literature and recent primary sources of the case companies, such as sustainability reports and statements. The study has a theoretical emphasis, and at first, it discusses the theoretical debates involving CSR. The separation of ownership and control in corporations that occurred in the early 20th century enriched the later discussion about the contradictions between capitalism and CSR, which was emerging slowly. From the 1970s, the practice of CSR became more familiar, and for instance, the orthodox liberal viewpoint became more positive about it: It was possible to combine profit-maximizing and CSR. Later, in the 21st century, governance studies gave a new perspective on interdisciplinary CSR studies. The study shows that climate responsibility might differ extensively between two same-sized oil companies. ExxonMobil’s climate responsibility has changed in the past twenty years: First, the company doubted whether climate change was true. Later, it admitted that it is a fact, and the company has committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. However, it commits to greenwashing regarding finding solutions. The company emphasizes its expertise and authority and is against government climate regulation. For ExxonMobil, the responsibility remains on the level of talk. It is not attempting to withdraw from oil. Shell’s climate responsibility, however, materializes in practice, too, even though the company has committed to greenwashing in the past. Shell has invested substantially in renewable energy sources and states that it aims to transform its business model to correspond with ambitious climate objectives. Further, contrary to ExxonMobil, Shell relies on a climate scenario, which follows an estimate that global warming from the pre-industrial era will not exceed 2°C. The study underlines that instrumental factors can explain the forms of corporate climate responsibility. However, the study does not exclude institutional, relational, nor philanthropic reasons for climate responsibility. This study discusses broad instrumentalism, which includes profit-maximizing and pursuit of corporate power. Profit-maximizing explains the form of climate responsibility that both companies practice. ExxonMobil’s climate responsibility speech is explained by maintaining a reputation and advertising matters, that is, short-term profits. However, its climate responsibility in practice remains modest, even irresponsible: The company is not withdrawing from oil nor investing in renewable energy sources. That is because, whereas the new oil resources are becoming harder and harder to exploit, ExxonMobil has relatively large oil resources compared with other oil companies. In turn, Shell’s climate responsibility is explained, especially by the long-term profits. Shell has relatively low oil reserves. Thus, it prepares for future regulation and positions as a progressive actor regarding energy transition to maximize profits in the 22nd century. Also, the case companies differ in the way they pursue corporate power. In the case of ExxonMobil, its climate responsibility speech is an attempt to pursuit corporate power against government regulation and to obtain autonomy. On the other hand, in climate issues, Shell highlights cooperation with the government and other stakeholders instead of self-regulation through its CSR. In the end, the thesis discusses the implications of the results to a broader question of global climate governance. When sustainability has become a growing business, and there are challenges in global climate governance, it is important to recognize the limits of climate responsibility, and more broadly, the limits of corporate social responsibility as a long-term solution. However, in the short term, the climate efforts of corporations are necessary to fill the regulatory gaps of global climate governance.
  • Vilppo, Tiina; Lindberg-Repo, Kirsti (Hanken School of Economics, 2011)
    Working Paper - 557
    Purpose – This research paper studies how the strategy of repositioning enables marketers to communicate CSR as their brand’s differentiating factor. It aims at understanding how consumer perceptions can be managed to generate brand value through corporate brand repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor. The purpose of this paper is to answer the following research question: How can consumer perceptions be managed to generate brand value through corporate brand repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor? The two research objectives were: 1. to build a model, which describes the different components of consumer perceptions involved in generation of brand value through repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor, 2. to identify the most critical components in the context of the case company, IKEA for generation of brand value during the process of corporate brand repositioning Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on the literature review covering the logic of brand value generation, repositioning strategy and consumer perceptions connected to CSR activities. A key concept of the positioning theory, the brand’s differentiating factor, was explored. Previous studies have concluded that desirability of the differentiating factor largely determines the level of brand value-creation for the target customers. The criterion of desirability is based on three dimensions: relevance, distinctiveness and believability. A model was built in terms of these desirability dimensions. This paper takes a case study approach where the predefined theoretical framework is tested using IKEA as the case company. When developing insights on the multifaceted nature of brand perceptions, personal interviews and individual probing are vital. They enable the interviewees to reflect on their feelings and perceptions with their own words. This is why the data collection was based on means-end type of questioning. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 consumers. Findings – The paper highlights five critical components that may determine whether IKEA will fail in its repositioning efforts. The majority of the critical components involved believability perceptions. Hence, according to the findings, establishing credibility and trustworthiness for the brand in the context of CSR seems primary. The most critical components identified of the believability aspect were: providing proof of responsible codes of conduct via conducting specific and concrete CSR actions, connecting the company’s products and the social cause, and building a linkage between the initial and new positioning while also weakening the old positioning. Originality/value – Marketers’ obligation is to prepare the company for future demands. Companies all over the globe have recognized the durable trend of responsibility and sustainability. Consumer´s worry about the environmental and social impact of modern lifestyles is growing. This is why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provides brands an important source of differentiation and strength in the future. The strategy of repositioning enables marketers to communicate CSR as their brand’s differentiating factor. This study aimed at understanding how consumer perceptions can be managed to generate brand value through corporate brand repositioning when CSR is the differentiating factor.
  • Bagdasar, Hannah (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Crimes perpetrated by large corporate actors are often met with impunity. This is particularly relevant in the case of the international core crimes and grave human rights abuses. Serious breaches of human rights were once thought to only committed by states and their actors, but as corporations grow to gain more power than that of some states, so grows their power to commit egregious abuses. As such, it is imperative to assess the mechanisms governing corporate actions, on both the international and domestic levels. This paper aims to provide a overview of the mechanisms governing corporate criminal liability for violations of the international core crimes through an assessment of ongoing soft law mechanisms, international tribunal precedent, domestic practices looking into best practices as well as common failures. Ultimately, the author finds that in order to effectively achieve criminal liability for corporate perpetrators of atrocity crimes, domestic paths must be pursued and strengthened before moving forward at the international criminal level. In the first part of this paper the author lays the ground work for how businesses can commit egregious abuses, and provides background on the ongoing frameworks of corporate social responsibility which dominates the human rights and business space. The second part looks into the international soft law mechanisms that largely govern how businesses operate with respect to human rights and preventing violations of the core international crimes. Several of the major mechanisms are selected and analyzed, along with a failed proposal by the United Nations, and a new Draft Treaty on Business and Human Rights. The third part looks at the how corporate criminal liability functions as part of international law customs and at international tribunals, with a look into the Nuremberg industrialist trials, the notable failure to include legal persons into the founding documents of the International Criminal Court, and a hopeful ruling regarding the jurisdiction over legal persons by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The fourth part focuses on domestic systems, looking into how corporate criminal liability is applied within two different jurisdictions, France and the United States, and one corporate accountability case that spans both jurisdictions. Finally, the author gives recommendations on what can be done in order to move forward with creating a more cohesive approach to corporate criminal liability for atrocity crimes at the international level, which is largely dependent on that of domestic systems.
  • Lantta, Marja-Leena (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    Increasing societal demands are driving forest industry companies to evaluate the impacts of their business activities more comprehensively. Corporate responsibility (CR) is not a new phenomenon to the industry sector as environmental considerations have been on the agenda of the firms for decades through the use of forest resources. Globalization and relocations of operations overseas have increased the general public's awareness of the societal effects of business. CR of major forest industry corporations has been studied extensively but a research gap was identified in the case of CR in small and medium-sized (SME) Finnish forest industry companies. The significance of SMEs is expected to grow within Finnish forest industry in the future as mechanical forest industry increases its relative importance. Based on literature this study suggests that SMEs should approach CR as a strategic issue, i.e., they should evaluate which aspects of this multidimensional phenomenon can affect the firm's ability to reach its objectives. The relatively limited resources of the firm should be allocated to those strategic CR issues. Empirical primary data was collected by interviewing the line managers of medium-sized Finnish sawmills. The managers were asked to identify sources of competitive advantage within the company, to give their definitions of CR and to discuss the potential of CR as a source of competitive advantage. The findings were congruent with earlier studies on SMEs in other industry fields. The firms often execute CR without identifying it and relate to CR through their key stakeholders (employees, community, customers). The interviewed line managers did not generally perceive CR to have potential as a source of CA. If CR is to be promoted amongst Finnish forest industry SMEs, robust business cases have to be presented to demonstrate the measurable benefits of CR. Practical examples of what CR incorporates in the smaller firm are required. Consumer studies are necessary to discover the value of CR stewardship perceived by the customers.
  • Nippala, Jaakko (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    Corporate social responsibility and sustainability have become increasingly important in modern business practices. The purpose of this study was to examine the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability practices and perceptions of small and medium-sized forest products companies in North Carolina (NC). These companies have less than 500 employees and most of the forest products companies operating in NC fall into this category. Research was carried out in two parts: first by conducting a content analysis of 22 websites of NC companies and second by conducting twelve semi-structured in-depth interviews with different company representatives to gain a deeper understanding of the practices and perceptions. The most frequently mentioned aspect in the websites was sustainability (48.6%), followed by CSR (19.8%). Most often mentioned CSR practices from the websites were safety and promotion of responsible forestry. Interviews identified social aspects of CSR as the most important for respondents. This is interesting since, according to earlier research, the forest industry tends to emphasize environmental aspects. The main drivers for CSR and sustainability were the owners and, to some extent, customers. Other stakeholders were not identified as important drivers. Interviews revealed that the company size is not really a defining aspect on implementation of CSR and sustainability, but it is instead a company specific initiative. Identifying and describing these effective patterns and practices of CSR and sustainability could help other small businesses create competitive advantages in forest products marketing. These practices can then be used as building blocks for sustainable and responsible business strategy.
  • Lempiäinen, Antti (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important topic in forest industries, and other global companies, in recent years. Globalisation, faster information delivery and demand for sustainable development have set new challenges for global companies in their business operations. Also the importance of stakeholder relations, and pressure to become more transparent has increased in the forest industries. Three dimensions of corporate responsibility economic, environmental and social, are often included in the concept of CSR. Global companies mostly claim that these dimensions are equally important. This study analyses CSR in forest industry and has focus on reporting and implementation of social responsibility in three international companies. These case-companies are Stora Enso, SCA and Sappi, and they have different geographical base, product portfolios and therefore present interesting differences about forest industry strategy and CSR. Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has created the most known and used reporting framework in CSR reporting. GRI Guidelines have made CSR reporting a uniform function, which can also be measured between companies and different sectors. GRI Guidelines have also made it possible to record and control CSR data in the companies. In recent years the use of GRI Guidelines has increased substantially. Typically CSR reporting on economic and environmental responsibility have been systematic in the global companies and often driven by legistlation and other regulations. However the social responsibility has been less regulated and more difficult to compare. Therefore it has previously been often less focused in the CSR reporting of the global companies. The implementation and use of GRI Guidelines have also increased dialogue on social responsibility issues and stakeholder management in global companies. This study analyses the use of GRI´s framework in the forest industry companies´ CSR reporting. This is a qualitative study and the disclosure of data is empricially analysed using content analysis. Content analysis has been selected as a method for this study because it makes it possible to use different sources of information. The data of this study consists of existing academic literature of CSR, sustainability reports of thecase-companies during 2005-2009, and the semi-structured interviews with company representatives. Different sources provide the possibility to look at specific subject from more than one viewpoint. The results of the study show that all case-companies have relatively common themes in their CSR disclosure, and the differences rise mainly from their product-portfolios, and geographic base. Social impacts to local communities, in the CSR of the companies, were mainly dominated by issues concerning creating wealth to the society and impacting communities through creation of work. The comparability of the CSR reporting, and especially social indicators increased significally from 2007 onwards in all case-companies. Even though the companies claim that three dimensions of CSR economic, environmental and social are equally important economic issues and profit improvement still seem to drive most of the operations in the global companies. Many issues that are covered by laws and regulations are still essentially presented as social responsibility in CSR. However often the unwelcome issues in companies like closing operations are covered just briefly, and without adequate explanation. To make social responsibility equally important in the CSR it would demand more emphasis from all the case-companies. A lot of emphasis should be put especially on the detail and extensiveness of the social reponsibility content in the CSR.
  • Xiong, Ying (Helsingfors universitet, 2009)
    As the global economy grows rapidly, certain environmental and societal problems have become challenges. This pushes more and more global companies to integrate those concerns in their business operations, in the form of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This thesis analyzes leading global companies’ CSR performance by using forest and IT industry as comparable cases, in order to point out the strength and weakness of CSR practice, and to indicate the proposal for CSR development. The study also describes the differences in emphasizing CSR between forest industry and IT industry, and between globally and in China market. The method of content analysis is introduced to the study. Based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines as classification frame, relevant information from the CSR reports of analyzed sampling units was classified into corresponding indicators and then transformed into the numbers that represent companies’ CSR performance. The result of the study shows that on a global scale environmental and economic responsibilities are the mainly focused areas of CSR by global companies while companies’ performance of human rights responsibility is very poor. In the future, global companies should work harder on human rights by taking actions to analyze violent risks and prevent discrimination instead of only releasing policies. Concerning differences between industries, forest product companies emphasize economic, environmental and labor practice responsibilities much more than IT companies do. IT industry is able to learn the experience from forest industry to improve its weak areas. The other finding in the study is that nearly no global companies publish separate unit CSR reports in China or sufficient information of CSR activities in China. It indicates that CSR is still at the very beginning status in China and global companies are recommended to take more responsibility for its development.
  • Joutsenvirta, Maria; Vaara, Eero (Scandinavian Journal of Management (2009) 25, 85—96, 2009)
    Despite the central role of legitimacy in corporate social responsibility debate, little is known of subtle meaning-making processes through which social actors attempt to establish or de-establish legitimacy for socially contested corporate undertakings, and through which they, at the same time, struggle to define the proper social role and responsibility of corporations. We investigated these processes in the context of the intense socio-political conflict around the Finnish forest industry company Metsa¨-Botnia’s world-scale pulp mill in Uruguay. A critical discursive analysis of Finnish media texts highlights three types of struggle that characterized the media coverage: legalistic argumentation, truth fights, and political battles. Interestingly, this case illustrates how the corporate representatives — with the help of the national media — tend to frame the issue in legalistic terms, emphasize their expert knowledge in technical and environmental evaluations, and distance themselves from political disputes. We argue that similar tendencies are likely to characterize corporate social responsibility debates more generally.
  • Pessi, Anne Birgitta; Seppanen, Anna Martta; Spannari, Jenni; Gronlund, Henrietta; Martela, Frank; Paakkanen, Miia (2022)
    Re-enchantment taps well into the current zeitgeist: The rising focus on emotions and post-material values also in organizational context. Enchantment is deeply tied to socially generated emotions. Our aim is to develop the concept of copassion, referring to the process of responding to the positive emotion of a fellow human being. Concepts are crucial as they shape our understanding of the world. Our core claim is relating to our colleagues' positive emotions not only enables and maintains but also fosters enchantment at work. In this article, by laying the ground by discussing enchantment and the theoretical framework of intersubjectivity, we will link copassion to the physiological and evolutionary basis of humans, as well as explore its conceptual neighbors. Finally, we will discuss intersubjectivity, and particularly mutual recognition, as well as the inseparability of compassion and copassion in human experience at work, and its implications to the study of enchantment.
  • Talonen, Antti Paavali; Jussila, Iiro; Tuominen, Pasi; Ruuskanen, Olli-Pekka (2021)
    In 1991, Archie Carroll presented the CSR pyramid, which has since become a widely recognised conceptualisation of corporate social responsibility. Responding to recent suggestions that understanding of the pyramid should be evaluated with regard to particular organisational contexts, the paper proceeds from awareness that not all corporations are owned by shareholders. Analysing qualitative data from consumer co-operatives, the authors conceptualise the economic responsibilities of these and consider them in light of prior definition of corporate economic responsibilities, to abstract a more general definition of corporate economic responsibility. The article is, to authors knowledge, the first one to address the implications of organizational form in economic responsibilities of a company.
  • Toivonen, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Responsible investing is a topical subject in financial markets. When both environmental and societal concerns are increasing with population growth and growing demand for scarce resources, interest towards responsibility and sustainability matters have become global. This has created new investment markets of responsible investing. The aim of this thesis is to form a comprehensive analysis of the performance of responsible investments compared to non-responsible investments. The thesis analyses the financial performance, the performance under uncertainty and the volatility of responsible investments. The empirical studies are utilised in the analysis. The thesis also aims to form an understanding of the possible sources and explanations of economics for financially profitable performance of responsible investments by introducing and applying theories of economics and academic studies. The thesis creates a theoretical framework for the research question analysis, with Markowitz’s (1952) modern portfolio theory. The theory indicates that by limiting the investment possibilities to cover the preference of responsible investing, an investor faces a constraint. Since opportunities of diversification decrease, responsible investing portfolios cannot be diversified as normal portfolios and responsible investing portfolios are not considered optimal. The theory indicates that responsible investment portfolios yield a worse expected return with the same risk or higher risk with same expected return compared with the optimal portfolios. When analysing the financial performance of responsible investments, the empirical evidence shows that the positive environmental, social governance (ESG) – corporate financial performance (CFP) correlation is higher than the negative ESG–CFP correlation. In addition, when comparing the performance of responsible indices and traditional indices, there are no significant differences in the gross returns or Sharpe ratios. When analysing the performance under uncertainty, companies with high corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings compared to companies with low CSR ratings, ratings had four to seven percent higher stock returns during the financial crisis period of 2008–2009. In addition, when analysing volatility, the conclusion is that higher ESG rating correlated with lower volatility and the relationship is stronger when market volatility was high. The empirical evidence shows that responsible investing appears to be financially profitable and a rational investing strategy since it does not impose opportunity costs for an investor. In fact, responsible investing can result in good risk-management of a portfolio and yield even better profit expectations than a non-responsible investing strategy. These findings challenge the modern portfolio theory’s indications. Explanations for the research question of why responsible investments perform well, are diverse. When applying the theories of economics, responsibility can be seen as signaling and to bring a competitive advantage for companies that integrate responsibility into the business models. A competitive advantage can occur through lower costs, easier access to capital and through differentiation. The academic studies also recognize the connection between responsibility and trustworthiness as distinct. In addition, responsibility can be seen as anticipating and managing of risks when it comes to possible changes in the institutional environment, for example, in legislation or in regulation framework. Furthermore, an altruistic way of behaviour can be identified among consumers and overall there exists a significant demand for responsibility and responsible products and businesses.
  • Voipio, Pauli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Achieving goals set for sustainable development and a prosperous life for future generations requires a collective effort, including from people on a private level, national governments, and private organizations alike. Sustainable development is often divided into three pillars, the environmental, economic and social pillars. One sector at the center of this is the agri-food sector, where social sustainability appears to be receiving little attention along its value chains. Oats, a staple product for Finland and Sweden, are considered a sustainable product from environmental and health perspectives, as well as potentially from an economic standpoint, but again social sustainability in the oats value chains is missing from the discussion. This thesis sets out to assess to which extent the social dimension of sustainability is addressed in these oats value chains. Using a mixed methods approach, the thesis explores the different measures used for assessing aspects of social sustainability. Measuring progress in sustainable development is often done through the use of indicators, which many of them are derived from the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Indicators are meant to reveal areas where progress has not been made and policy should be targeted for development. Large organizations are reporting their contributions in annually published sustainability reports. For this, sustainability aspects need to be measurable, which requires converting real-life phenomena into measurable indicators, often quantifiable numbers. This is especially difficult for some social aspects. There is a risk policymaking loses its focus of pursuing development beyond the indicators, but instead is only trying to answer to the indicators. The thesis is applying a qualitative mixed methods approach. First, published sustainability reports are assessed, followed by indepth, semi-structured expert interviews. The research material consists of two published sustainability reports, an unpublished sustainability report comparison document, as well as 11 interviews. The data was gathered in March, April and May 2022. The interviews were analyzed using a qualitative content analysis and divided into themes for analysis. From an objective general standpoint, the oats value chain stakeholders valued all three dimensions of sustainability equally, but through the use of examples of activities the same did not translate into the organizations’ daily activities. Actions and programs were more focused on environmental and economic aspects, and the absence of social sustainability examples in initial responses proposes a slight disregard toward the social dimension. Still, organizations introduced a variety of methods in place for assessing social issues, especially internally. Organizations in the oats value chain are looking to make an impact for a more sustainable future, but measuring performance presents challenges, especially on the social side. Categorizing aspects of social sustainability under different dimensions of sustainability is complicated.
  • Raitanen, Piritta (Helsingfors universitet, 2009)
    The phenomenal globalization of business is the main incentive for the study of business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). With an increase in transnational trade over the past decades, an understanding of acceptable business practices across cultural boundaries is particularly important. Public concern for global issues such as climate change, raw material procurement, human rights, labor policies and corporate governance has significantly increased. Business corporations are obligated to operate as members of communities, organization as such is not allowed to exist if it does not gain acceptance and support from those in its environment. Furthermore, CSR can be seen as a competitive advantage – one dimension of corporate reputation and image. As future managers and consumers the current students are shaping the construct of corporate responsibilities. The future of CSR depends much on the attitudes of coming generations. The purpose of this study was to investigate how and to what extent the personal values and perceptions of CSR differ among Chinese, Finnish and American students. The theoretical frame of reference suggests that perceptions of CSR are affected by background variables – gender, nationality and study major – both directly and through personal values. The nature of the study was quantitative and the sample consisted of altogether 1547 students from Finland, China and USA. The data has been gathered using questionnaires. The results of the study support previous findings of significant cultural and gender related differences in personal values and perceptions of CSR. Generally, female respondents and students majoring in forest ecology and environmental sciences possessed softer values and accepted or supported NGOs’ activity and governmental regulation in business life. The Chinese represented harder and more masculine values, whereas the American respondents emphasized soft values and stakeholder welfare. Overall, the Chinese data was the most homogenous, whereas the difference between genders was the most significant in Finland. Further research would be needed to find out if and how the values and perceptions are evolving over time. It remains to be seen, whether the ongoing globalization will decrease cultural differences in values and CSR orientation.
  • Leppänen, Juuli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Food waste is a global issue that causes major damage economically, environmentally and socially. Stakeholders carry a shared responsibility for the waste and more effort is needed to prevent its creation. Retailers, an affluent link in the food supply chain (FSC), can make a difference. Solving the food waste issue requires comprehending what has already been done. Understanding the field and analyzing the impacts of different kind of food waste initiatives from various perspectives can benefit the food industry as well as non-governmental organizations and public authorities on the path towards more sustainable processes. The aim of this research is to define what kind of food waste initiatives have been implemented among the leading European food retailers between the years 2011 and 2014. The research is carried out from a European perspective as its field of food trade is considered unique in terms of policies, integration and the development of the functions of the FSC. The research was implemented through a qualitative content analysis from a deductive point of view during autumn 2014. The theoretical framework of the paper consists of literature related to the European food retail sector, the food waste issue and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The data used in the content analysis was collected from Europe’s leading retailers’ CSR reports and homepage publications. It was then analyzed from various perspectives, with an emphasis to the causes of food waste and the theory of CSR. The research found that retailers have implemented several different food waste programs which vary with respect to their objectives, duration, strategic integration and operational aspects. The initiatives present a variety of economic, environmental and social CSR dimensions and outputs. The paper argues that retailers have used innovative solutions in their food waste programs that have resulted in environmental and other benefits.
  • Pirhonen, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The topic of this master’s thesis is the importance of CSR practices and their impact on corporate image in the outdoor advertising industry, focusing on two research questions: 1. What CSR practices are often adopted in the outdoor advertising companies? 2. Which CSR practices adopted most matter for their customers/business partners and how do the outdoor advertising companies’ CSR practices have an influence on their images? The study uses JCDecaux and Clear Channel as case studies which are the biggest outdoor advertising companies in Finland and belong on the list of biggest outdoor advertising companies worldwide. Desk research was conducted for the first research question by going through the provided CSR (corporate social responsibility) information shared on the case companies’ reports and websites. Following this was an investigation and designed questionnaire for the second research question, its target group being media and marketing agencies that had worked with outdoor advertising campaigns earlier. The questionnaire focused on the respondents’ attitudes towards CSR and on how important they regarded different CSR practices. The respondents were asked to rank the importance on a 5-point Likert scale and explain. These listed practices were from the outdoor advertising industry or from the advertising industry overall. The results of the first research question show that the case companies have a serious approach to CSR with different practices from the three CSR dimensions; environmental, social, and governance. Based on the information found, many CSR practices are highlighted but there could be some improvements made on reporting and sharing the information so that it would be easily accessible. The results of the second research question portray that CSR is regarded as an important matter and the listed CSR practices were rated on average above 3 on a 5-point Likert scale. A common explanation was that the matters are viewed as important on a personal level but when it comes to buying outdoor advertising it all depends on the type of client and campaign. There was a general interest in the information and more transparency and details were wanted. It is believed that the topic of CSR is not very common in Finland yet but that its importance may rise in the future. In the future more outdoor advertising companies could be compared amongst each other and more companies from the media industry could be surveyed and interviewed, which could make the study more comprehensive. The major limitations in the study are the number of contacts reached and the timing being during the Covid-19 situation in Finland.
  • Korhonen, Anastasia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The wood products industry has a significant impact on the natural environment and surrounding society by utilizing natural resources in its operations. After receiving criticism from stakeholders, forest companies have increasingly paid attention to economic and social features together with environmental performance. When covering sustainability communication in forest products industry, previous studies have mainly been focusing on sustainability reporting. After spread of digitalization the importance of sustainability-related online communication has increased, especially among forest companies and associations. This study addresses the sustainability-related online communication in the wood products industry, since it has not been studied extensively yet. The purpose of the study is to examine on corporate and sectoral levels how companies and associations communicate with their stakeholders online and what are the current topics of sustainability-related online communication in the forest products industry in Finland. Empirical data was collected by carrying out the qualitative content analysis inductively and deductively based on forest companies’ and associations’ websites. Both methods were utilized to ensure discover of topical sustainability issues from data. According to the findings, sustainability communication of forest companies and associations still bases on environmental factors. However, the share of social factors such as stakeholder engagement is growing. Although, majority of forest companies and associations have applied various social media channels to communicate with their stakeholders, the evaluation of the communication effectiveness of these channels is difficult and requires further research. In the end, to achieve mutual benefit companies need to engage and involve their stakeholders in decision-making process on company’s sustainability issues through social media or other online platforms.
  • Eriksson, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The thesis looks at corporate social responsibility and its political discourse in Finland. Corporate social responsibility has gained a lot of public attention during the last decades. Especially the unethical behaviour of multinational corporations has increased the demands for corporate accountability. Anthropologists have observed the chameleon-like character of corporate social responsibility phenomenon. The phenomenon seems to always transform according to the criticism it receives. Thus, anthropologists have questioned the efficiency of corporate social responsibility in addressing the social and global problems caused by corporations. Lately there has been increasing demands to legislate corporate social responsibility. The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the current public discourse on the legalisation of corporate social responsibility, and to discuss whether there is a possibility that this discourse will facilitate change in corporate behaviour. By examining this latest shift in the corporate social responsibility discourse, the thesis also critically evaluates the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility. The thesis is based on an ethnographic fieldwork that has been conducted in different public events addressing corporate social responsibility in Helsinki, Finland. The fieldwork was conducted between October 2018 and November 2019. The data for this thesis has been gathered through participant observation, unofficial discussions, online ethnography and the international policy documents underlying the discourse, such as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The data is analysed through the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility. But in order to gain new insights, this thesis draws also from other anthropological research that has addressed global governance. By drawing from the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility, the thesis argues that the global guidelines underlying the current discourse aim to establish a symbolic authority on the issue of corporate responsibility to respect human rights. But these guidelines do not set any strict requirements on corporations as they are voluntary. Instead, they promote a post-political ideology of collaborative action and consensus. But the thesis suggests that instead of foreclosing the political discussion on controversial topics, these guidelines actually move political conflicts into other locations. The thesis shows how corporations and other actors in the society negotiate the norms for corporate behaviour. It shows how Finnish corporations appeal to their size in order to displace and diminish their responsibility. However, this thesis argues that also other actors than corporations displace responsibility according to their interests, which is contrary to what the previous anthropological research has suggested. But simultaneously the actors aim to build consensus through partnerships, business case reasoning and development rhetoric, whose discursive power has already been recognised by the existing anthropological research. But the thesis suggests that, in addition to these, the actors in Finland build consensus through national rhetoric and by appearing morally higher and more conscientious than actors outside of Finland. Thus the discourse in Finland frames the issue of corporate respect for human rights as a cultural problem. To address this cultural problem, corporations embrace the development discourse, and thus human rights education is framed as the corporate responsibility of the Finnish corporations. The thesis has also shows how the discourse on the possible law is dominated by the practical problem of making the law. Thus, the thesis suggests that there is a risk that the law will not have much sanctioning power. The corporations can strategically utilise the human rights due diligence process to discharge responsibility, as they can show that they are trying to address the issues in their supply chains. Despite of the critical analysis of the current discourse, the thesis has argued that the public corporate social responsibility discourse, guidelines and legal technologies nonetheless foster change and increase ethical awareness of the corporations. Thus, the thesis argues that the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility has been too preoccupied with the focus on the discourse and practices of multinational corporations and the topics of power and inequality. These perspectives have resulted in overly critical analysis that assumes that the corporate social responsibility discourse always privileges corporations. Thus, the thesis argues that the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility diminishes the transformative capabilities of corporate social responsibility discourse and practice.