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Promoting Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility in Developing Countries

This was the Philippine component of the research project entitled “The Political Economy of Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER) in Developing Countries.” The project was coordinated by Dr. Peter Utting of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. The study sought to identify the voluntary initiatives of corporations in developing countries and their impacts on the environment, social development, and labor conditions. It also analyzed the main forces, actors, pressures, policies, and incentives that encourage firms to improve their social and environmental performance. The thrusts of the project were a) to conduct a macro-level analysis of the political economy of corporate social responsibility, b) to conduct a sectoral analysis, and c) to examine the extent to which voluntary initiatives have been adopted by companies and their effectiveness. A workshop among the case study researchers was conducted in order to discuss research design and methodology, research instruments, and project management concerns. Participants were noted in their respective fields and were based in the regions in which they would conduct their research. The following companies were chosen for in-depth case studies: Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Nestlé Philippines, Bayer, Rio Tinto and Marcopper mining companies, and Dole. The study concluded that in many cases, CSER is viewed as a marketing tool for promoting corporate images. Voluntary initiatives pursued in piecemeal fashion by large firms have limited impact on social and environmental conditions. Nonetheless, the expansion of CSER activities has created significant dents on management systems and corporate cultures. Many companies started establishing corporate-community relations units with the aim of undertaking CSER programs and projects.


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