Corporate Social Responsibility – How Global Business is Getting it Wrong in Emerging Markets

May 2011 – A World Growth Study

Every major corporation in the developed world is expected to have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. These are company goals to improve sustainability, social engagement, and labor and human rights which demonstrate the business is a ‘good corporate citizen.’ This report reveals that leading global companies are advancing CSR strategies that are likely to antagonize governments in emerging economies, advance causes of little interest to their local people and jeopardize business activity in the high growth economies of the Emerging Markets. This report reviews the CSR policies of nine leading global corporations across three developed economy continents towards Emerging Markets and finds they disregard national development objectives, have policies that will disadvantage low income producers and commercial opportunity, and even commit to higher sustainability standards for products which there is low consumer demand. The business case for ECSR is strong. If corporations do not craft CSR policies to suit the environment in Emerging Markets, they will be seen as out of touch with local consumers, risk antagonizing public authorities and give indigenous competitors a marketing edge. What about the primary obligation of private enterprises – the return to shareholders? They will lose business. This report suggests relevant CSR standards for such companies to reduce the business risk of existing strategies.

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