Poverty Reduction as a Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda: The case of the European Commission

Manca, Christine (2009) Poverty Reduction as a Corporate Social Responsibility Agenda: The case of the European Commission. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This research attempts to bring some light on the opportunities for the European Commission (EC) to encourage European businesses working in developing countries to make poverty reduction an institutionalised and explicit part of their CSR agenda.

The literature review explores two different perspectives upon the benefits of poverty reduction as a CSR agenda: whether it is supportive of poverty reduction efforts and beneficial to the poor, and whether it is beneficial to the achievement of business objectives.

For a better understanding of the mechanisms in place at the European Union (EU) level which could be used as channels to make poverty reduction part of the CSR agenda and strategies of European multinational companies operating in developing countries, interviews of EC officials belonging to the EC interservice group on CSR are analysed through the new institutional theories of DiMaggio and Powell (1983), examining in particular coercive, mimetic and normative isomorphic pressures.

Findings show that the EC does not have a strategy to integrate developmental aspects, including poverty reduction, into its CSR policies. Such a strategy is urgently needed and should be developed by the external relations programming Directorates-General of the Commission.

While the institutionalisation of CSR is much more advanced in EU internal policies than in its external dimension, two major roles have appeared dominant through which the EC could encourage companies to introduce poverty reduction in their CSR strategies. The first one is the regulatory role the EC is endorsing. Although it has adopted a voluntary approach and rejected mandatory measures, the EC arguably appears to have the ambition of becoming the regulator of the relations between the public and private actors by accepting to facilitate the negotiations for different types of regulations. The second major role played by the EC is a facilitating role, for example in engaging key stakeholders into CSR debates and activities, and researching and disseminating information.

Although the EU does not seem to have elaborated yet its own specific approach to CSR, several elements can be identified which could become some of the particularities of an emerging European approach to CSR in its international dimension. Because of the path dependency described by Whitley (1999), European CSR would primarily be characterised by a demand-driven approach and by an emphasised social dimension.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2009 10:21
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2016 19:46
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/22633

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