CSR in forest industry : case study of reporting and implementation of social responsibility in three international companies

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Title: CSR in forest industry : case study of reporting and implementation of social responsibility in three international companies
Author: Lempiäinen, Antti
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Metsätieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för skogsvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2011
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201507211807
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Marknadsföring av skogsprodukter
Forest Products Marketing
Abstract: 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.
Subject: corporate social responsibility
forest industry

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