The concept of corporate social responsibility means that organizations have moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities in addition to their responsibilities to earn a fair return for investors and comply with the law.
By Marina Martin Curran. For a long time farming was perceived as a romantic occupation by city dwellers. The farmer worked with the soil, produced healthy nutritious food, knew his livestock individually, and was a steward of the countryside.
In recent years this image has been replaced by one of the farmer as a villain: It is not just the farmer who has been tainted; the food supply chain is long and winding and butchers, abattoirs, hauliers, processors and retailers have also suffered from the poor image that the public has of British food.
Some of the schemes predate the modern problems of agriculture, e. Other schemes have been put in place specifically to counter the recent negative image of food, e. These socially and environmentally responsible schemes are entered into voluntarily and range from the highly regulated, e.
The schemes cover a range of issues that have been identified by business and consumers alike. These include animal welfare, biodiversity, labour, regional sourcing, public health, sustainability, supply chain integrity. As in other sectors, motivation for opting into these schemes is both financial and moral.
There are few studies that actually show the financial rewards for compliance, but it is known from other industries that CSR is profitable. Businesses are able to command a premium for products that have CSR labels, their image improves, their share prices stabilise and they become eligible for socially responsible investment funds or industry awards, which can further enhance their value.
This article aims to provide the reader with an overview of the schemes available to the food and agriculture sector and the issues that they address. A brief description of the business case for adopting these schemes is provided.
Organic farming biodiversity, sustainability Organic farming originally addressed the social and environmental responsibilities of food production.
These days, the demand for organic food is such that it is produced in large quantities and the social aspects have been set aside and emphasis is placed on the environmental aspects of production.
Consumers buy organic food for the perceived environmental and health benefits. Organic farming is now big business and the price premiums that farmers can charge are an incentive for conventional farmers to convert their farms to organic. There has, however, been a recent downward trend for organic milk prices.
Fair Trade labour, supply chain integrity Fair trade products address the social responsibilities of trade. When consumers buy fair trade coffee or bananas they are ensuring that the producer in South America, for example, gets a fair price for his crop.
Also, that the producer is free to participate in trade unions and that no forced labour is involved. Fair trade products are more expensive than conventionally traded products because the price fixed for the product is often higher than the current market price.
Starbucks have recently announced that they intend to supply fair trade coffee in their British outlets. Many of these consumers would have avoided Starbucks in the past as it is seen to be part of the globalisation of the High Street.
Quality Assurance schemes animal welfare, public health The quality assurance schemes, of which they are dozens in the UK, assure the consumer that the meat or vegetable has been produced in an environmentally responsible way, that animal welfare standards are adhered to and that the product is safe.
These standards go above and beyond the law.
The AFS is an umbrella scheme for several different standards that exist for beef, pork, lamb, poultry, cereals and vegetables. Producers gain a price premium for opting into these schemes, but more importantly it assures them a market for their produce.
This is to insure their supply chain integrity — both from a moral standpoint and from a financial or liability standpoint.
Codes of conduct supply chain integrity Retailers have set up codes of conduct to insure supply chain integrity.New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility convenes, inspires and supports businesses and their community stakeholders to build a more sustainable and prosperous state for all.
On the contrary, academic research and business experience point to quite the opposite. Embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance.
Drawing from our own research and our colleagues’ research in this area, we have created a sustainability business case for the 21 st century corporate . When Principles Pay: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line (Columbia Business School Publishing) [Geoffrey Heal] on pfmlures.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
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