A new concept for measuring Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporations are increasingly under pressure for the social and environmental harm happening along their supply chain. Problems with water, emissions, biodiversity, slavery, child labor and other issues appear along the supply chains of our computers, chocolate, coffee or clothes. These problems should be regulated by governments, however, many of the global production activities take place in geopolitical contexts, where governments are either not able or not willing to regulate social and environmental problems. Therefore, the globalization of supply chains has lead to a mindshift in the understanding of corporate responsibility. In the past, corporations were held responsible for what they did themselves. Today, they are held (co-)responsible for the whole production process. How do multinational corporations deal with these demands? How do, for instance, chocolate producers deal with the challenge of slave children in Ivory Coast, where they source most of their cocoa?
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Faculty, a team of researchers around Prof. Wentland and Prof. Palazzo have developed a new concept for examining the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance of multinational companies. In a pilot study, they will apply their concept to four selected industries: cocoa, coffee, computer and pharmaceuticals. The aim is to evaluate how well or how poorly the key companies in these industries perform in the most important social and environmental challenges of their respective industrial contexts. Furthermore, in collaboration with M.I.S Trend, a market research company, two surveys will be conducted in Switzerland. In one of these surveys, the awareness for supply chain related challenges among SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enteprises) will be examined and in a second study, the sensitivity and knowledge of these challenges in the general public will be examined.
Guido Palazzo, HEC Lausanne, November 2010.
The results were presented during the Forum des 100 organised by L’Hebdo magazine, which will took place at the University of Lausanne on the 12th of May 2011.