Tag Archives: strategic CSR

A Conceptual Model of Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

The corporate sustainability and responsibility concept is linked to improvements to the companies’ internal processes, including; environmental management, human resource management, operations management and marketing (Porter & Kramer, 2011; Fombrun, 2005; Maignan & Ferrell, 2004). At the same time, it raises awareness on the businesses’ responsible behaviours toward stakeholders, including the government, suppliers, customers and the community, among others (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Freeman, 1984). The fundamental motivation behind this approach is the view that creating connections between stakeholders in the value chain will open-up unseen opportunities for the competitive advantage of responsible businesses, as illustrated here:

(Camilleri, 2017a)

Corporate sustainability and responsibility focuses on exploiting opportunities that reconcile differing stakeholder demands as many corporations out there are investing in corporate sustainability and responsible business practices (Camilleri , 2017b). Their active engagement with multiple stakeholders (both internal and external stakeholders) will ultimately create synergistic value for all (Camilleri, 2017a).

Multinational organizations are under increased pressures from stakeholders (particularly customers and consumer associations) to revisit their numerous processes in their value chain activities. Each stage of the company’s production process, from the supply chain to the transformation of resources could add value to their businesses’ operational costs as they produce end-products. However, the businesses are always expected to be responsible in their internal processes, toward their employees or toward their suppliers’ labour force. Therefore, this corporate sustainability and responsibility perspective demands that businesses create economic and societal value by re-aligning their corporate objectives with stakeholder management and environmental responsibility. In sum, corporate sustainability and responsibility may only happen when companies demonstrate their genuine willingness to add corporate responsible dimensions and stakeholder engagement to their value propositions. This occurs when businesses opt for responsible managerial practices that are integral to their overall corporate strategy. These strategic behaviours create opportunities for them to improve the well-being of stakeholders as they reduce negative externalities on the environment.  The negative externalities can be eliminated by developing integrated approaches that are driven by ethical and sustainability principles. Very often, multinational businesses are in a position to mitigate risk and to avoid inconveniences to third parties. For instance, major accidents including BP’s Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010; or the collapse of Primark’s Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, back in 2013 could have been prevented if the big businesses were responsible beforehand.

In conclusion, the corporate sustainability and responsibility construct is about embedding sustainability and responsibility by seeking out and connecting with the stakeholders’ varied interests. As firms reap profits and grow, there is a possibility that they generate virtuous circles of positive multiplier effects (Camilleri, 2017a). Therefore, corporate sustainability and responsibility can be considered as strategic in its intents and purposes. Indeed, the businesses are capable of being socially and environmentally responsible ‘citizens’ as they are doing well, economically. This contribution explains the foundations for corporate sustainability and responsibility. Although this concept is still evolving; the debate among academic commentators is slowly but surely raising awareness on responsible managerial practices and on the skills and competences that are needed to deliver strategic results that create value for businesses, society and the environment.

References:

Camilleri, M.A. (2017a) Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management: An Introduction to Theory and Practice with Case Studies. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany. http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319468488

Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.) (2017b) CSR 2.0 and the New Era of Corporate Citizenship. IGI Global, Hershey, USA. ISBN13: 9781522518426 DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1842-6 http://www.igi-global.com/book/csr-new-era-corporate-citizenship/166426

Carroll, A. B., & Shabana, K. M. (2010). The business case for corporate social responsibility: A review of concepts, research and practice. International journal of management reviews, 12(1), 85-105.

Fombrun, C. J. (2005). A world of reputation research, analysis and thinking—building corporate reputation through CSR initiatives: evolving standards. Corporate Reputation Review, 8(1), 7-12.

Freeman, R.E. (1984). Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach. Pitman, Boston, MA. USA.

Maignan, I., & Ferrell, O. C. (2004). Corporate social responsibility and marketing: An integrative framework. Journal of the Academy of Marketing science, 32(1), 3-19.

Porter, M. E. & Kramer, M. R., (2011). Creating shared value. Harvard business review, 89 (1/2), 62-77.

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Reconceiving CSR for Business and the Labour Market

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This contribution maintains that it is in the private sector’s interest to actively participate in reconceiving education for societal well being. It posits that there are win-win opportunities for companies and national governments as they cultivate human capital. Indeed, companies can create synergistic value for both business and society. Such a strategic approach can result in new business models and cross-sector collaborations that will inevitably lead to operational efficiencies, cost savings and significant improvements to the firms’ bottom lines. The CSR initiatives in education can also help organisations to improve the recruitment and retention of talented employees. This paper has reported that employees want to be part of organisations that genuinely demonstrate their concern for society. There was mention of strategic philanthropic initiatives that manifest corporate behaviours that also satisfy much of the stakeholders’ aspirations. Organisations can always make use effective CSR communications to attract the best employees and talent pool from the labour market. Ideally, businesses ought to treat employees as internal customers as it is critical for their long term success. In a sense, the organisational culture and its commitment for CSR engagement can play an integral role, in this regard. In fact, CSR and environment sustainability issues are increasingly becoming ubiquitous practices in different contexts, particularly for the youngest work force.

This research indicated that there is a business case for corporate sustainable and responsible behaviours. Besides, minimising staff turnover, CSR may lead to systematic benefits including employee productivity, corporate reputation and operational efficiencies. This implies that CSR is an antecedent for an optimal financial performance (towards achieving profitability, increasing sales, return on investment et cetera). At the same time, the businesses’ CSR engagement could create significant value to society as well. The corporations’ involvement in setting curricula and relevant course programmes may also help to improve the effectiveness of education systems across many contexts. It is imperative that businesses become key stakeholders in the provision of education and training. There is a possibility that CSR programmes could reconnect the businesses’ economic success with societal progress. Proactive companies who engage in strategic CSR behaviours could uncover new business opportunities (Lauring and Thomsen, 2008) and achieve competitive advantage (Porter and Kramer, 2006). Indeed, businesses are in a position to nurture employees by enhancing their knowledge and skill sets. This will inevitably lead to more competent staff and to significant improvements in work productivity among other benefits.

CSR can be reconceived strategically for business and educational outcomes. This research has given specific examples of how different organisations were engaging in responsible behaviours with varying degrees of intensity and success. It has identified cost effective and efficient operations. It reported measures which were enhancing the human resources productivity. Other practices sought to engage in philanthropic practices and stewardship principles. Indeed there are positive outcomes that represent a leap forward for the CSR agenda. This contribution reiterated that it is in the businesses’ self-interest to maintain good relations with employees. Evidently, there is more to CSR than public relations, greenwashing and posturing behaviours. Businesses need to engage with stakeholders and to forge long lasting relationships with them. Corporate responsible behaviours bring reputational benefits, enhance the firms’ image among external stakeholders and often lead to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company itself (Herzberg et al., 2011). A participative leadership will also boost the employees’ morale and job satisfaction. This will also lead to lower staff turnover rates and greater productivity levels in workplace environments (Fida et al., 2014). Notwithstanding, there are many businesses that still need to align their organisational culture and business ethos in order to better embrace responsible behavioural practices.

Governments also have an important role to play. They can take an active leading role in triggering corporate responsible behaviours in education. Greater efforts are required by policy makers, the private sector and other stakeholders. The governments could give reasonable incentives (through financial resources in the form of grants or tax relief) and enforce regulation in certain areas where responsible behaviour is necessary. They need to maintain two-way communication systems with stakeholders. This paper posited that the countries’ educational outcomes and their curriculum programmes should better respond to the employers’ requirements. Therefore, educational programmes ought to instil students with relevant knowledge and skills that are really required by business and industry. Several governments, particularly those from developing nations ought to step up with their commitment to develop new solutions to help underprivileged populations and subgroups. New solutions could better address the diverse needs of learners and prospective employees. This research indicated that there is scope for governments to work in collaboration with corporations in order to improve the employability of tomorrow’s human resources.
Research Limitations and Future Research Avenues

It must be recognised that there are various forms of businesses out there, hailing from diverse sectors and industries. In addition, there are many stakeholder influences, which can possibly affect the firms’ level of social responsibility toward education. It is necessary for governments to realise that they need to work alongside business practitioners in order to reconceive education and life-long learning for all individuals in society. The majority of employers that were mentioned in this research were representative of a few corporations that are based in the most developed economies. Yet, there could be different CSR practices across diverse contexts. Future research could consider different sampling frames, methodologies and analyses which may yield different outcomes.

This contribution has put forward the ‘shared value’ approach in education (Camilleri, 2014; Porter and Kramer, 2011). It is believed that since this relatively ‘new’ proposition is relatively straightforward and uncomplicated, it may be more easily understood by business practitioners themselves. In a nutshell, this synergistic value notion requires particular focus on the human resources’ educational requirements. At the same time, ‘shared value’ also looks after the stakeholders’ needs (Camilleri, 2015). This promising concept could contribute towards bringing long term sustainability by addressing economic and societal deficits in the realms of education. A longitudinal study in this area of research could possibly investigate the long term effects of involving the business and industry in setting curriculum programmes and relevant learning outcomes. Presumably, shared value can be sustained only if there is a genuine commitment to organisational learning for corporate sustainability and responsibility, and if there is the willingness to forge long lasting relationships with key stakeholders.

Recommendations
The corporations’ social responsibility in the provision of education has potential to create shared value as it opens up new opportunities for business and society. There are competitive advantages that may arise from nurturing human resources (McKenzie and Woodruff, (2013), Kehoe and Wright (2013) and Hunt and Michael, (1983). As firms reap profits and grow, they can generate virtuous circles of positive multiplier effects. In a way, businesses could create value for themselves as well as for society by sponsoring educational institutions, specific courses and individuals. In conclusion, this contribution puts forward the following recommendations to foster an environment where businesses are encouraged to become key stakeholders in education:

• Promotion of business processes that bring economic, social and environmental value through the encouragement of innovative and creative approaches in continuous professional development and training in sustainable and responsible practices; including socially responsible investing (SRI), responsible supply chain management, the circular economy, responsible procurement of sustainable products, consumer awareness of sustainability / eco labels, climate change and the environmental awareness;

• Enhancement of collaborations and partnership agreements between governments, business and industry leaders, trade unions and civil society. There should be an increased CSR awareness, continuous dialogue, constructive communication and trust among all stakeholders.

• National governments ought to create regulatory frameworks which encourage and enable the businesses’ participation in the formulation of educational programmes and their curricula.

• Policy makers should ensure that there are adequate levels of performance in areas such as employee health and safety, suitable working conditions and sustainable environmental practices among business and industry.

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The ‘Creating Shared Value’ Proposition

The following is an excerpt from one of my latest contributions, entitled; “Corporate Social Responsibility: Theoretical Underpinnings and Conceptual Developments”

The concept of creating business value is not new to academia. Wheeler et al. (2003) came up with a simple framework for the creation of value. They reconciled the concepts of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development (or sustainability) with a stakeholder approach. They held that the reputational and brand value were good examples of intangible value. Although, they failed to relate reputation and branding to economic value over the long term, they came up with a business model in their value creation approach. Their sustainability model embraced the concepts of CSR, corporate citizenship and the stakeholder theory (Wheeler et al. 2003). In a similar vein, Porter and Kramer (2006) claimed that the solution for CSR lies in the principle of ‘shared value’. According to Porter and Kramer (2011), the businesses are in the best position to understand the true bases of their company productivity. It is in their interest to collaborate across profit and non-profit boundaries. Porter and Kramer (2011) gave relevant examples of how efficient processes are aimed at adding value to the firm and to society at large.

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(Porter and Kramer , 2011)

The authors explained that the creation of shared value focuses on identifying and expanding the connections between societal and economic progress. A shared value proposition requires particular areas of focus within the businesses’ context (workplace) as well as looking after society’s interests (comprising the environment, marketplace and the community) for the firm’s self-interest. The enterprise’s performance must be continuously monitored and evaluated in terms of its economic results. Creating Shared Value (CSV) is about embedding sustainability and corporate social responsibility into a brand’s portfolio. All business processes in the value chain (Porter, 1986) operate in an environmental setting within their wider community context. Porter and Kramer (2011) held that this new approach has set out new business opportunities as it created new markets, it improved profitability and has strengthened the competitive positioning. Crane and Matten (2011) admitted that Porter and Kramer (2011) have once again managed to draw the corporate responsibility issues into the corporate boardrooms. Crane and Matten (2011) had words of praise for the ‘shared value’ approach as they described the term as compelling and endearingly positive.

Elkington (2012) argued that sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value. The author recognised that Porter and Kramer’s shared value proposition is undeniably a key step forward in corporate strategy. Yet he maintained that shared value can play a key role in destroying key resources, reducing the planet’s biodiversity and destabilising the climate. Then Elkington (2012) went on to say that Porter reduced corporate sustainability to resource efficiency. Eventually, Crane, Palazzo, Spence and Matten (2014) have also critiqued Porter and Kramer’s (2011) shared value proposition. They argued that this concept ignored the tensions that were inherent to responsible business activity. They went on to suggest that shared value is based on a shallow conception of the corporation’s role in society. Eventually, Porter and Kramer (2014) admitted that “shared value” cannot cure all of society’s ills as not all businesses are good for society nor would the pursuit of shared value eliminate all injustice. However, Porter and Kramer defended their (2011) proposition as they argued that they had used the profit motive and the tools of corporate strategy to address societal problems.

 


Citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2015) Corporate Social Responsibility: Theoretical Underpinnings and Conceptual Developments. In Vertigans, S. & Idowu, S.O., Stages of Corporate Social Responsibility: From Ideas to Impacts, Springer (Forthcoming)

 

References

Crane and Matten blog (2011). Url: http://craneandmatten.blogspot.com/ accessed on the 15th April 2012.

Crane, A., Palazzo, G., Spence, L. J., & Matten, D. (2014). Contesting the value of the shared value concept. California Management Review, 56, 2.

Elkington, J. (2012). Sustainability should not be consigned to history by Shared Value accessed on the 19th June 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/sustainability-with-john-elkington/shared-value-john-elkington-sustainability

Porter, M.E. (1986). Competition in Global Industries. Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Porter, M.E. and Kramer, M.R. (2006). Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility. Harvard Business Review, (December 2006), pp. 78-92.

Porter, M.E. and Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating shared value: How to reinvent capitalism – and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, (January/February), pp. 62-77.

Wheeler, D., Colbert, B. and Freeman, R.E., (2003). Focusing on value: Reconciling corporate social responsibility, sustainability and a stakeholder approach in a network world. Journal of General Management 28(3), pp. 1-28.

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Unleashing Corporate Social Responsibility through Digital Media

csr

Companies are increasingly focusing their attention on content and inbound marketing. In a nutshell, content marketing necessitates an integrated marketing communications approach involving different media (1). Content strategists and marketers who care about their online reputation are realising that they have to continuously come up with fresh, engaging content with a growing number of quality links. They have to make sure that their websites offer great content for different search engines. Consistent high quality content ought to be meaningful and purposeful for target audiences (2).

Successful marketers are capable of enhancing customer loyalty, particularly if their businesses are delivering ongoing value propositions to promising prospects (on their website). Such businesses are continuously coming up with informative yet interesting content through digital channels, including blogs, podcasts, social media networking and e-newsletters. Online content often include refreshing information which tell stakeholders how to connect the dots. It may appear that many companies are becoming quite knowledgeable in using social media channels to protect their reputation from bad publicity or misinformation.

Several online businesses often tell insightful stories to their customers or inspire them with sustainable ideas and innovations. Corporate web sites could even contain their latest news, elements of the marketing-mix endeavours as well as digital marketing fads.
Most social media networks are effective monitoring tools as they could feature early warning signals of trending topics (3). These networks may help business communicators and marketers identify and follow the latest sustainability issues. Notwithstanding, CSR influencers are easily identified on particular subject matters or expertise. For example, businesses and customers alike have also learned how to use the hashtag (#) to enhance the visibility of their shareable content (4). Some of the most popular hashtags comprise: #CSR #StrategicCSR, #sustainability, #susty, #CSRTalk, #Davos2015, #KyotoProtocol, #SharedValue et cetera. Hashtags could possibly result in financial support to charity, philanthropic or stewardship principles. They may even help to raise awareness of the overall CSR communications. Hence, there are numerous opportunities for businesses to leverage themselves through social networks as they engage with influencers and media.

  • The ubiquity of Facebook and Google Plus over the past years has made them familiar channels for many individuals around the globe. These networks have become very popular communication outlets for brands, companies and activists alike. These social media empower their users to engage with business on a myriad of issues. They also enable individual professionals or groups to promote themselves and their CSR credentials in different markets and segments.
  • Moreover, Linkedin is yet another effective tool, particularly for personal branding. However, this social network helps users identify and engage with influencers. Companies can use this site to create or join their favourite groups on LinkedIn (e.g. GRI, FSG, Shared Value Initiative among others). They may also use this channel for CSR communication as they promote key initiatives and share sustainability ideas. Therefore, LinkedIn connects individuals and groups as they engage in conversations with both academia and CSR practitioners.
  • In addition, Pinterest and Instagram enable their users to share images, ideas with their networks. These social media could also be relevant in the context of the sustainability agenda. Businesses could illustrate their CSR communication to stakeholders through visual content. Evidently, these innovative social networks provide sharable imagery, infographics or videos to groups who may be passionate on certain issues, including CSR.
  • Moreover, digital marketers are increasingly uploading short, fun videos which often turn viral on internet (5). YoutubeVimeo and Vine seem to have positioned themselves as important social media channels for many consumers, particularly among millennials. These sites offer an excellent way to humanise or animate  SR communication through video content. These digital media also allow their users to share their video content across multiple networks. For instance, videos featuring university resources may comprise lectures, documentaries, case studies and the like.

CSR practices may provide a good opportunity for businesses to raise their profile in the communities around them.  Genuine businesses communicate their motives and rationales behind their CSR programmes. In this case, there are numerous media outlets where businesses can obtain decent coverage of their CSR initiatives, especially on the web (e.g. CSRwire and Triple Pundit among others). Although, there are instances  where consumers themselves, out of their own volition are becoming ambassadors of trustworthy businesses; at the same time certain stakeholders are becoming increasingly acquainted and skeptical on certain posturing behaviours and greenwashing (6).

Generally, digital communications will help to improve the corporate image of firms. Positive publicity can lead to reputational benefits and long lasting relationships with stakeholders (7). Online content and inbound marketing can be successfully employed for CSR communication1. Corporate sites should be as easy as possible, with user-centred design that enables interactive information sharing on CSR activities. Inter-operability and collaboration across different social media can help businesses to connect with stakeholders (1). 

Marketers can create a forum where prospects or web visitors can engage with the business in real time. These days, marketing is all about keeping and maintaining a two-way relationship with consumers. Digital marketing is an effective tool for consumer engagement.

A growing number of businesses are learning how to collaborate with consumers about product development, service enhancement and promotion. These companies are increasingly involving customers in all aspects of marketing. They listen to and join online conversations as they value their stakeholders’ opinions and perceptions.

Today, pervasive social media networks are being used by millions of customers every day. In a sense, it may appear that digital marketing tools have reinforced the role of public relations. These promotional strategies complement well with CSR communication and sustainability reporting.

This contribution encourages businesses to use digital media to raise awareness of their societal engagement and environmentally sustainable practices. Further research may possibly identify how successful businesses are using digital channels to forge genuine relationships with their stakeholders.

References

  1. Camilleri, M.A. “Unleashing Shared Value Through Content Marketing.” Triple Pundit, 10th February 2014. http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/02/unleashing-shared-value-content-marketing/
  2. Camilleri, M.A. “A Search Engine Optimization Strategy for Content Marketing Success.” Social Media Today 28th May, 2014. http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/search-engine-optimization-strategy-content-marketing-success
  3. Kietzmann, Jan H., Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, and Bruno S. Silvestre. “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media.” Business horizons 54, no. 3 (2011): 241-251.
  4. Small, Tamara A. “What the hashtag? A content analysis of Canadian politics on Twitter.” Information, Communication & Society 14, no. 6 (2011): 872-895.
  5. Guadagno, Rosanna E., Daniel M. Rempala, Shannon Murphy, and Bradley M. Okdie. “What makes a video go viral? An analysis of emotional contagion and Internet memes.” Computers in Human Behavior 29, no. 6 (2013): 2312-2319.
  6. Laufer, William S. “Social accountability and corporate greenwashing.” Journal of Business Ethics 43, no. 3 (2003): 253-261.
  7. Camilleri, M.A. “The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility” (paper presented at the American Marketing Association in collaboration with the University of Wyoming, Oklahoma State University and Villanova University: Marketing & Public Policy as a Force for Social Change Conference. Washington D.C., 5th June 2014): 8-14, Accessed June 26, 2015. https://www.ama.org/events-training/Conferences/Documents/2015-AMA-Marketing-Public-Policy-Proceedings.pdf

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Responsible Tourism that Creates Shared Value Among Stakeholders

Excerpt from the paper entitled; “Responsible Tourism that Creates Shared Value among Stakeholders” This contribution will shortly be published by  Tourism Planning and Development Journal.

This study revealed how different tourism organisations were engaging in responsible behaviours with varying degrees of intensity and success. It has identified cost effective and efficient operations. There was mention of some measures which enhance the human resources productivity. Other measures sought to reduce the negative environmental impacts. At the same time, it was recognised that it was in the businesses’ interest to maintain good relations with different stakeholders, including the regulatory ones.

rtThe researcher believes that responsible tourism can truly bring a competitive advantage when there are fruitful communications and continuous dialogue among all stakeholder groups (including the employees, customers, marketplace and societal groups). The tourism enterprises ought to engage themselves in societal relationships and sustainable environmental practices (Chiu, Lee and Chen, 2014). The tourism owner-managers admitted that responsible behaviours have brought reputational benefits, enhanced the firms’ image among external stakeholders and led to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company. Similar findings were reported by Nunkoo and Smith (2013). This study reported that a participative leadership boosts employee morale and job satisfaction which may often lead to lower staff turnover and greater productivity in the workplace (Davidson et al., 2010). Evidently, stakeholder relationships are needed to bring external knowledge sources, which may in turn enhance organisational skills and performance (Frey and George, 2010).

The governments may also have an important role to play in this regard. The governments can take an active leading role in triggering responsible behaviours. Booyens (2010) also reiterated that greater efforts are required by governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to translate responsible tourism principles into policies, strategies and regulations. Governments may give incentives (through financial resources in the form of grants or tax relief) and enforce regulation in certain areas where responsible behaviour is required. The regulatory changes may possibly involve the use of eco-label and certifications. Alternatively, the government may encourage efficient and timely reporting and audits of sustainability (and social) practices. The governments may provide structured compliance procedures to tourism enterprises. Responsible tourism practices and their measurement, reporting and accreditation should be as clear and understandable as possible. The governments’ reporting standards and guidelines may possibly be drawn from the international reporting instruments (e.g. ISO, SA, AA, and GRI).

This research posits that sustainable and responsible environmental practices leverage the tourism enterprises performance as innovations can help to improve their bottom-line. This finding was also consonant with Bohdanowicz’s (2006) contribution. This research indicated that the investigated enterprises were increasingly pledging their commitment for discretionary investments in environmental sustainability, including; energy and water conservation, alternative energy generation, waste minimisation, reducing, reusing and recycling policies, pollution prevention, environmental protection, carbon offsetting programmes and the like. Indeed, some of the interviewees have proved that they were truly capable of reducing their operational costs through better efficiencies. Nevertheless, there may be still room for improvement as tourism enterprises can increase their investments in the latest technological innovations. This study indicates that there are small tourism enterprises that still need to realise the business case for responsible tourism. Their organisational culture and business ethos will have to become attuned to embrace responsible behavioural practices.

Nevertheless, it must be recognised that the tourism industry is made up of various ownership structures, sizes and clienteles. In addition, there are many stakeholder influences, which affect the firms’ level of social and environmental responsibility (Carroll and Shabana, 2010). Acquiring new knowledge must be accompanied by mechanisms for dissemination. Perhaps, there is scope in sharing best practices, even with rival firms. It is necessary for responsible businesses to realise that they need to work in tandem with other organisations in order to create shared value and to move the responsible tourism agenda forward. Therefore, this study’s findings encourage inter-firm collaboration and networking across different sectors of the tourism industry.

“…responsible behaviours have brought reputational benefits, enhanced the firms’ image among external stakeholders and led to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company”.

This contribution contends that the notion of shared value is opening up new opportunities for responsible tourism and the sustainability agenda, particularly with its innovative approach to configure the value chain (Pfitzer, et al, 2013; Porter and Kramer 2011). There are competitive advantages that may arise from creating and measuring shared value. Evidently, there is more to responsible tourism than, ‘doing good by doing well’ (Garay and Font, 2012). As firms reap profits and grow, they can generate virtuous circles of positive multiplier effects. This paper has indicated that the tourism enterprises, who engage themselves in responsible and sustainable practices, are creating value for themselves and for society. In conclusion, this research puts forward the following key recommendations for the responsible tourism agenda:

• Promotion of laudable business processes that bring economic, social and environmental value;
• Encouragement of innovative and creative approaches, which foster the right environment for further development and application of sustainable and responsible practices;
• Enhancement of collaborations and partnership agreements with governments, trade unions and society in general, including the marketplace stakeholders;
• Ensuring that there are adequate levels of performance in areas such as health and safety, suitable working conditions and sustainable environmental practices;
• Increased awareness, constructive communication, dialogue and trust;
• National governments may create a regulatory framework which encourages and enables the implementation of sustainable and responsible behavioural practices by tourism enterprises.


References (a complete list of references that were cited in this paper)

Ayuso, S. (2007). Comparing voluntary policy instruments for sustainable tourism: The experience of the Spanish hotel sector. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 15(2), 144-159.

Bohdanowicz, P. (2006). Environmental awareness and initiatives in the Swedish and Polish hotel industries—survey results. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 25(4), 662-682.

Booyens, I. (2010). Rethinking township tourism: towards responsible tourism development in South African townships. Development Southern Africa, 27(2), 273-287.

Bramwell, B., & Lane, B. (1993). Sustainable tourism: An evolving global approach. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1(1), 1-5.

Bramwell, B. & Rawding, L. (1996). Tourism marketing images of industrial cities. Annals of Tourism research, 23(1), 201-221.

Bramwell, B., & Sharman, A. (1999). Collaboration in local tourism policymaking. Annals of tourism research, 26(2), 392-415.

Bramwell, B., Lane, B., McCabe, S., Mosedale, J., & Scarles, C. (2008). Research perspectives on responsible tourism.

Buckley, R. (2012). Sustainable tourism: Research and reality. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(2), 528-546

Camilleri, M.A. (2014). Advancing the Sustainable Tourism Agenda Through Strategic CSR Perspectives, Tourism Planning & Development, 11:1, 42-56.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015) “Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting”. Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 18 (3).

Carroll, A.B., and Shabana, K.M (2010), The business case for corporate social responsibility: a review of concepts, research and practice. International Journal of Management Reviews 12 (1), 85-105.

Chiu, Y. T. H., Lee, W. I., & Chen, T. H. (2014). Environmentally responsible behavior in ecotourism: Antecedents and implications. Tourism Management, 40, 321-329.

Cooper, C. P. & Ozdil, I. (1992). From mass to ‘responsible’tourism: the Turkish experience. Tourism Management, 13(4), 377-386.

Crouch, G. I., & Ritchie, J. B. (1999). Tourism, competitiveness, and societal prosperity. Journal of business research, 44(3), 137-152.
Davidson, M. C., Timo, N. & Wang, Y. (2010). How much does labour turnover cost?: A case study of Australian four-and five-star hotels. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(4), 451-466.

EU (2007). Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/documents/communications/commissioncommunication- accessed on the 12th December 2014.
EU (2012). European charter for a sustainable and responsible tourism http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/sustainable-tourism/charter/index_en.htm accessed on the 12th December 2014.

Fleischer, A., & Felsenstein, D. (2000). Support for rural tourism: Does it make a difference?. Annals of tourism research, 27(4), 1007-1024.

Frey, N., & George, R. (2010). Responsible tourism management: The missing link between business owners’ attitudes and behaviour in the Cape Town tourism industry. Tourism Management, 31(5), 621-628.

Garay, L., & Font, X. (2012). Doing good to do well? Corporate social responsibility reasons, practices and impacts in small and medium accommodation enterprises. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31(2), 329-337.

Getz, D., & Carlsen, J. (2000). Characteristics and goals of family and owner-operated businesses in the rural tourism and hospitality sectors. Tourism management, 21(6), 547-560.

Goodwin, H., & Francis, J. (2003). Ethical and responsible tourism: Consumer trends in the UK. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(3), 271-284.

Goodwin, H. (2007). Responsible tourism in destinations. http://haroldgoodwin.info/blog/?p=2745 accessed on the 11th December 2013.

Goodwin, H. (2011). Taking responsibility for tourism. Woodeaton, UK: Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

Goodwin (2013) What role does certification play in ensuring Responsible Tourism? – in WTM blog. http://www.wtmlondon.com/library/What-role-does-certification-play-in-ensuring-Responsible-Tourism#sthash.azaYgVZj.dpuf accessed on the 18th January 2014.

Goodwin (2015) Using Tourism to create shared value http://blog.wtmresponsibletourism.com/2015/02/16/using-tourism-to-create-shared-value-in-kerala/

Graci, S., & Dodds, R. (2008). Why go green? The business case for environmental commitment in the Canadian hotel industry. Anatolia, 19(2), 251-270.

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Hall, C. M., & Lew, A. A. (1998). Sustainable tourism. A geographical perspective. Addison Wesley Longman Ltd.

Hall, C. M. (2010). Changing paradigms and global change: From sustainable to steady-state tourism. Tourism Recreation Research, 35(2), 131-143.

Hall, C. M. (2011). A typology of governance and its implications for tourism policy analysis. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(4-5), 437-457.

Haywood, K. M. (1988). Responsible and responsive tourism planning in the community. Tourism management, 9(2), 105-118.

Iglesias, A., Garrote, L., Flores, F., & Moneo, M. (2007). Challenges to manage the risk of water scarcity and climate change in the Mediterranean. Water Resources Management, 21(5), 775-788.

IHG (2012a). Intercontintental Hotel Group: CSR Report 2012. http://www.ihgplc.com/files/pdf/2012_cr_report.pdf accessed on the 15th January 2014.

IHG (2012b). Intercontinental Hotel Group: CSR Report IHG Green Engage. http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?pageid=742 accessed on the 15th January 2014.
Jamal, T. B., & Getz, D. (1995). Collaboration theory and community tourism planning. Annals of tourism research, 22(1), 186-204.

Jones, A. (1987). Green tourism. Tourism management, 8(4), 354-356.

King, C. (2010). “One size doesn’t fit all” Tourism and hospitality employees’ response to internal brand management. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(4), 517-534.

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Environmental Responsibility in the Hospitality Sector

In a recent media release Hyatt has reiterated its commitment to environmental stewardship with a focus on energy, waste and water reduction, sustainable building, supply chain management as well as stakeholder engagement. In Hyatt’s Corporate Responsibility Report, the listed hotel corporation has unveiled an aggressive set of environmental goals for the year 2020, all designed to strengthen Hyatt’s collective ability to collaborate, inspire and further its commitment to environmental stewardship. Hyatt has also defined a suite of measurable and actionable targets. Hyatt hotels aim to create a more sustainable future for themselves and for their neighbours. The hotel group posits that the conservation efforts have reaped fruit, resulting in major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and water and energy usage by property across their portfolio. Hyatt maintains that its commitment to environmental stewardship touches every aspect of its business, from the way how the hotels are built and operated, to the way they collaborate with their global supply chain, to the way the hotel chain influences change through the passion and commitment of its employees around the world.
Setting Focus Areas
Hyatt 2020 Vision focuses on significantly expanding the global chain’s strategic scope, especially in areas where past efforts have not had as much of an impact due to occupancy fluctuations and rapid business growth in developing markets. With this in mind, the hotel chain’s three strategic priorities include the following;
• “Use Resources Thoughtfully: Hyatt is committed to examining how its hotels source, consume and manage natural resources to serve their guests. Hyatt will identify ways for Hyatt hotels to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, use less water, produce less waste and make more environmentally responsible purchasing decisions. As a highlight, Hyatt has set the goal to reduce water use per guest night by 25 percent, and within water-stressed areas, Hyatt has set a 30 percent reduction goal. Additionally, Hyatt is elevating its recycling efforts by challenging every hotel to reach a 40 percent diversion rate, as well as by setting a recycling goal for renovation waste.
Build Smart: Hyatt will work closely with stakeholders to increase the focus on building more efficient, environmentally conscious hotels across the enterprise. Beginning in 2015, all new construction and major renovation projects contracted for Hyatt managed hotels will be expected to follow enhanced sustainable design guidelines. Hyatt will lead this initiative by mandating that all new construction and major renovation projects for wholly owned full service hotels and resorts achieve LEED certification, or an equivalent certification.
Innovate and Inspire: This goal reflects Hyatt’s commitment to be a catalyst for bringing more hearts, hands and minds to the table to help advance environmental sustainability around the world. This includes Hyatt’s commitment to create a funding mechanism to support the innovation, ideation and acceleration of sustainable solutions within its hotels that can be replicated across the Hyatt portfolio, as well as the broader hospitality industry” (Hyatt Corporate Responsibility Report, 2013/2014).

Reporting Progress
Hyatt’s reported some of its major milestones, including:

• “The launch of Ready to Thrive, Hyatt’s global corporate philanthropy program focused on literacy and career readiness, which included a $750,000 investment in career readiness programs in Brazil.
• Building 11 libraries and supporting reading and writing programs in 30 schools through a new partnership with Room to Read, impacting 30,000 students in India.
• Donating 35,000 books to kids in need across the globe through We Give Books and Room to Read.
• Donating more than 100,000 volunteer hours in 2013 – a 69 percent increase from 2012.
• More than 80 percent of Hyatt hotels recycling at least one or more waste streams.
• A reduction in resource use intensity in each of Hyatt’s three regions compared to 2006 – up to a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, up to a 13 percent reduction in energy and up to a 15 percent reduction in water.
• Development of responsible seafood sourcing goals based on a global purchasing audit in partnership with World Wildlife Fund.
• Required more than 40,000 of its global associates — including housekeepers, front office, concierge, guest services, key service and security personnel, and all management-level colleagues — to complete Human Trafficking Prevention Training. Hyatt also implemented a standard for all of its hotels to have training measures in place” (Hyatt Corporate Responsibility Report, 2013/2014).

Sources:
Hyatt Thrive: http://thrive.hyatt.com/en/thrive.html
Hyatt Corporate Responsibility Report (2013-2014): http://thrive.hyatt.com/content/dam/Minisites/hyattthrive/Hyatt%20Corporate%20Responsibility%20Report-2013-2014.pdf

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Generating Synergistic Value for Business and Society

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Synergistic value integrates insights from the stakeholder theory [1] [2] [3] and the resource based view theory [4] [5].

The stakeholder theory [1] provides opportunities to align business practices with societal expectations and sustainable environmental needs. Businesses ought to reconcile disparate stakeholders’ wants and needs (e.g. employees, customers, investors, government, suppliers etc.). Firms can create synergistic value opportunities by forging alliances with internal and external stakeholders.  This may lead to an improvement in mutual trust and understanding. As a result, there are also benefits for corporate reputation, brand image, customer loyalty and investor confidence. This societal engagement also responds to third party pressures, it lowers criticisms from the public and minimises regulatory problems by anticipating legal compliance.

The synergistic value model [6] as featured in Figure 1. presents the potential effect of the government’s relationship on the organisation’s slack resources. Moreover, scarce resources are a facilitator for quality and innovation. Therefore, discretionary expenditures in laudable practices may result in strategic CSR [7] outcomes  including; effective human resources management, employee motivation, operational efficiencies and cost savings (which often translate in healthier financial results) [6]. business-comment_05_temp-1359037349-510143a5-620x348(source: Camilleri, 2012)

This promising notion suggests that there is scope for governments in their capacity as regulators to take a more proactive stance in promoting responsible behaviours. They can possibly raise awareness of social and sustainable practices through dissemination of information; the provision of training programmes and continuous professional development for entrepreneurs [6]. They may assist businesses by fostering the right type of environment for responsible behaviours; through various incentives (e.g. grants, tax relief, sustainable reporting guidelines, frequent audits et cetera) [6].

 

Synergistic value implies that socially responsible and environmentally-sound behaviours will ultimately bring financial results – as organisational capabilities are positively linked to organisational performance. Synergistic value is based on the availability of slack resources, stakeholder engagement and regulatory intervention which transcend strategic CSR benefits for both business and society.

References:

[1] Freeman, E.E. (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory: Some Future Directions Business Ethics Quarterly, 4(4), 409

[2] Jones, T. M. (1995). Instrumental stakeholder theory: A synthesis of ethics and economics. Academy of Management Review, 20(2), 404–437.

[3] Donaldson, T., and Preston, L. E. (1995). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, Evidence and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65–91.

[4] Orlitzky, M., Siegel, D. S. and Waldman, D. A. (2011). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability. Business & Society, 50(1), 6-27.

[5]McWilliams, A. and Siegel, D. 2011. Creating and capturing value: Strategic corporate social responsibility, resource-based theory and sustainable competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 37(5), 1480-1495.

[6] Camilleri, M. A. (2012). Creating shared value through strategic CSR in tourism.. University of Edinburgh. https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/6564 accessed 10th July 2014.

[7] Werther, W. and Chandler, D. (2006). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a Global Environment. London: Sage Publications.

[8] Porter, M. E. and Kramer, M.R. (2011) Creating shared value. Harvard business review 89.1/2 (2011): 62-77.

 

Links:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131010/business-comment/Unleashing-shared-value-through-content-marketing.489766

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130523/business-comment/Leveraging-organisational-performance-through-shared-value-propositions.470940

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130124/business-comment/Creating-shared-value-for-long-term-sustainability.454548

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Davos 2014 calls for corporate responsibility

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Davos 2014 calls for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility: #CSR brings benefits to both business and society! #SharedValue

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Valuing regulatory instruments for sustainability reporting

Laudable corporate responsibility practices often involve the development of network relations, as both private and government actors are increasingly investing their discretionary resources in social capital. Societal governance is intrinsically based on a set of increasingly complex and interdependent relationships. Several governments are stepping in with their commitment for corporate governance as they are setting their social and environmental responsibility agenda through different policies and frameworks.

Many countries are following the guidelines of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as these organisations have provided highly recognised international benchmarks for transparent and accountable practices. However, there are other pertinent actors within the local levels of society, which may include civil organisations and industry practitioners. There may be different expectations and perceptions within each stakeholder relationship, which have to be addressed successfully to develop appropriate CSR policies. Essentially, such relational approaches are based on the idea that recent changes and patterns affecting the economic and political structure may transform the roles and capacities of various social agents.

The corporations’ political role has inevitably raised the need for further transparency and accountability of practices. Apparently, the so called ‘standards’ represent voluntary predefined norms and procedures for organisational behaviour with regards to social and environmental issues and are often valid on a global level. There are several well-known examples of such standards, which may contain considerable differences. These standards help corporations to be accountable to the consequences of their actions. Organisations are encouraged to assess and communicate their responsible activities (and impacts) on sustainable issues to their stakeholders.

Yet, it may seem that to date there is still no formal model which can be used as a yardstick to evaluate the standards’ strengths and weaknesses. The accountability standards reflect a shift towards a ‘quasi-regulation’ which is based on a substantive (outcome-based) and reflexive (process-based) law approaches. A ‘substantive’ law approach is regulated by prescribing predefined outcomes, whereas a ‘reflexive’ law approach is regulated by prescribing procedures to determine outcomes in a discursive way. Since most accountability standards are addressing corporations all over the world, their macro-level norms may appear to be quite generic and broad in their content.

According to the EU Commission Expert Group (2012), non-financial reporting enables investors to contribute to a more efficient allocation of capital, and to better achieve longer-term investment goals. It can also help to make enterprises more accountable and contribute to higher levels of citizen trust in business. Several experts have supported the idea of a principles-based approach, rather than a detailed, rules-based one. The EU Commission Expert Group suggested that their framework on non-financial reporting has given flexibility to the companies to decide the topics to report on. The European Union’s experts (hailing from the Directorate General of the Internal Market and Services) came up with an innovative approach, which incentivised the companies to report their non-financial information. Of course, materiality is considered a key concern by audit experts. The experts stressed that improving materiality of reports is useful to address the comparability issues. They advocated that the companies’ boards should have ownership on reporting, in order to make it relevant and effective.

Clearly, the experts did recognise that there were significant differences in national cultural contexts as well as in their respective reporting mechanisms. Some experts have indicated their concern about the consequences of adopting more detailed reporting requirements (including specific key performance indicators) into EU legislation. On the other hand, they did not reject the idea of proposing a list of topics which could be covered by any company when reporting its responsible practices. The current EU framework still does not provide a specific reference framework as to the expected quality of the disclosure of the non-financial reports.

For the time being, the instruments for sustainable reporting are not compulsory, although a wide array of CSR tools and standards have already been developed. The voluntary nature of private non-financial reporting can be a valid reason why governments and businesses did not take a hands-on approach in the development of CSR policy. The governments could possibly play a more pro-active role by setting the regulatory social and environmental standards. The introduction of standards, phase-in periods and use of innovative technologies can possibly bring operational efficiencies and cost savings to the businesses themselves. Such measures may improve the environment, and increase the organisations’ competitiveness. Adequate regulation can possibly contribute to the wider societal and environmental objectives.

Mark Camilleri recently completed his PhD (Management) degree at the University of Edinburgh

Valuing non financial performance and CSR reporting

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