After completing my PhD, I work on how to make the growth of emerging economies more sustainable.
Sustainability is different for business in the developed and developing countries
Is Sustainability which is presented through environmental, social and economic performance similar for business companies in developed and developing and emerging market countries?
While some sustainability models and tools such as importance of strong CEO leadership seem to universally work for all companies, in many instances there are significant differences in understanding and application of corporate sustainability in the developed and developing world.
So, what is the main discrepancy?
To assess corporate sustainability, academic and business researchers often address sustainability reports submitted to the Global Reporting Initiative database.
Today many Western companies in sustainability reports seem to devote less attention than before to their local stakeholders (interested parties), and sometimes it is not even disclosed how the stakeholders are included in shaping the report content.
At the same time, reporting business in emerging and developing countries on the contrary pays a lot of attention to their neighbour stakeholders, in particular, to their employees and local communities. Important themes there are local volunteering and philanthropy.
Even multinational corporations modify and adapt their sustainability policies for local conditions, for example, while at global level, corporate policies and reporting are highly focused on greenhouse gas abatement and climate change, at local level they are discussing energy efficiency.
It seems that business in developed countries is more concerned with global issues, and in developing and emerging markets business goes local to solve everyday problems.
Is it done altruistically? Well, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), social and environmental policies are nowadays integral parts of management strategy of any successful company. It is generally included for sake of company’s reputation and, ultimately, for profit. At the same time, responsible business has a positive impact on, first of all, local communities, and potentially can also positively affect social and environmental change in developing and emerging market countries.
by Anna Firsova
Abstract: Different studies carried out to date in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) field have focused on analysing certain explanatory factors of CSR reporting in different countries or individual factors, such as firm size, activity sector, good corporate governance, economic and financial profitability, and the cost of equity capital, among others. In contrast, other aspects of national cultures and institutions that make up the macroeconomic, legal, and political context of a country have been addressed to a lesser extent. This paper analyses how aspects of national institutions affect CSR reporting on an international level using the varieties of the capitalism approach. This approach is concerned with companies and the ways in which they interact strategically to solve the coordination problems that arise from their activities. The study uses data from the Thomson Reuters Eikon database and the Global Reporting Initiative (G3.1) for a sample of firms from countries classified as state-led market economies (France, Portugal, and Spain) and countries considered liberal market economies (the USA and the UK). The results obtained by linear regression show those companies in state-led market economies disclose more concerning CSR than companies in liberal market economies. Moreover, firms in state-led market economies disclose more on stakeholder aspects such as social, environmental and business behaviour than companies in liberal market economies. This may be due to coercive pressure, that is, the existence of a significant and well-developed legal system that seeks to protect stakeholders and is not exclusively oriented towards shareholder interests. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Pub.: 06 Mar '17, Pinned: 12 May '17
Abstract: This paper adopts the lens of environmental ethics to explore whether there is a disparity between the ethical approaches of a company in comparison to those expressed by stakeholders in relation to environmental issues, specifically those communicated through the corporate environmental report. Discourse analysis is adopted to explore the environmental section of the sustainability reports of the case study company as compared to the responses of a sample of the company’s stakeholders, using the lens of three branches of environmental ethics: utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics. Results indicate that the ethical approaches expressed in the case study company’s environmental reports were grounded in utilitarianism and deontology, in contrast to a virtue ethics approach expressed by external stakeholders. The disparity widened as the relationship between the company and the stakeholder became less direct. This disparity signals a failure to meet one of the primary purposes for preparing sustainability reports: to engage with stakeholders. As such this research contributes to the literature by identifying a disparity in the how this information is communicated compared with how it is perceived by stakeholders. This has important implications for the success of current stakeholder engagement practices.
Pub.: 07 Apr '16, Pinned: 10 May '17
Abstract: In this paper we explore the role that managerial incentives play in improving corporate environmental performance, finding that greater inclusiveness of incentive beneficiaries and greater variety of incentive types are important factors in firms' incentive schemes. Drawing on a large dataset of multinational enterprises, our results suggest that including more beneficiaries from different levels within the corporate hierarchy and offering both monetary and non-monetary rewards are generally more likely to lead to reductions in corporate greenhouse gas emissions. Developing two principles of incentive design, inclusiveness and variety, and the conceptualization of patterns of these in organizations as configurations of incentives, our research contributes substantially to normative advice regarding the relative effectiveness of alternative systems of environmental incentives. Such an understanding of the potential of incentives is critical to informing how firms address complex problems such as sustainability in the context of increasingly extended organizational hierarchies and designs. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Pub.: 26 May '17, Pinned: 30 May '17
Abstract: Organizations are increasingly using sustainability reports to inform their stakeholders and the public about their sustainability practices. We apply topic modelling to 9,514 sustainability reports published between 1999 and 2015 in order to identify common topics and, thus, the most common practices described in these reports. In particular, we identify forty-two topics that reflect sustainability and focus on the coverage and trends of economic, environmental, and social sustainability topics. Among the first to analyse such a large amount of data on organizations' sustainability reporting, the paper serves as an example of how to apply natural language processing as a strategy of inquiry in sustainability research. The paper also derives from the data analysis ten propositions for future research and practice that are of immediate value for organizations and researchers.
Pub.: 14 Apr '17, Pinned: 10 May '17
Abstract: Authors: Adriana Rossi Article URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0969160X.2016.1273453?ai=2t8&mi=47tg1r&af=R Citation: Social and Environmental Accountability Journal Publication Date: 2016-12-30T06:01:44Z Journal: Social and Environmental Accountability Journal
Pub.: 30 Dec '16, Pinned: 10 May '17
Abstract: Stakeholder engagement (SE) is recognized as a key process to align firm and stakeholder interests and to identify material content for sustainability reporting (SR). Research on SE quality in an SR context has, however, been largely neglected. This paper investigates the current state and quality of SE within SR within a sample of 55 sustainability reports issued by European firms that used the new Global Reporting Initiative's G4 Guidelines. It will focus on why, how, and with whom firms are involved in SE based on an SE disclosures analysis framework and investigate the extent to which reporting maturity influences the state of SE disclosures and SE quality. While SE seems common practice, many firms are failing to provide full disclosure on how stakeholders have been engaged in defining report content. Less than half of the studied reports contained clear disclosures on how firms had responded to stakeholder concerns. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Pub.: 04 May '17, Pinned: 10 May '17
Abstract: Despite the considerable attention granted to the history of international business, we still have a limited knowledge of the historical impact of multinationals on host economies. This article presents the case of the giant Italian rayon firm Snia Viscosa which was acquired by its direct rivals, Courtaulds in the UK and the German firm Glanzstoff, in 1927. Italian deflation which underpinned the return of the country to the gold standard between 1925 and 1927 and the parlous financial conditions of Snia Viscosa proved incentives in what seemed to be a fire sale investment. This investment mitigated the credit crunch and allowed Snia Viscosa to have access to foreign rayon expertise. Evidence suggests that the regime and economic nationalism exerted some pressure on foreign interests and were instrumental in the abandonment of plans intended to reduce Italian rayon output dramatically. One contribution of this article is its use of business history to illustrate how recessions can reshape foreign direct investment flows and the tensions that may arise between domestic business interests and foreign stakeholders during recessions. In addition, the history of Snia Viscosa shows the importance of foreign interests and multinationals in the long-term industrialization of Italy.
Pub.: 02 May '17, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: International Journal of Emerging Markets, Volume 12, Issue 1, Page 108-124, January 2017. Purpose The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to study internationalization-performance relationship of Indian born global (IBG) firms from multi-theoretical lens and establish the nature of this relationship; second, to highlight the role of foreign equity in moderating this relationship; and third, to establish the relevance of export intensity (EI) in determining these firms’ financial performance. Design/methodology/approach In total, 411 IBG firms were identified based on born global (BG) definition and post-entry internationalization age requirement of this study. A balanced panel comprising of three years from 2010 to 2012 was analyzed using pooled panel and moderated multiple regression techniques. Findings The authors empirically prove that though EI and financial performance are positively related at overall level, this relationship is curvilinear in nature. In presence of foreign equity this positive curvilinear relationship is moderated to inverted-U shape. Research limitations/implications The data sample is restricted to 411 private limited IBGs between the years 2009 and 2012. Implications of the findings are for policy makers and managers to sharpen their strategic foresight for exporting firms in its post-entry period. Also, investors can take level of internationalization into cognizance when investing in BG firms. Practical implications The authors believe the results have practical implications for numerous parties, such as shareholders, institutional investors, scholars, policymakers and managers. It emboldens modern day managers to make further foray into internationalization due to its positive benefits on both productivity as well as profitability. Also, firms that look for foreign equity participation have to balance their strategies for greater scale and scope into international markets. Originality/value This is the first study that brings out the vital relationship aspect of EI with financial performance of IBG firms in their post-entry internationalization period, adding to international business literature in area of BG firms in their post-entry internationalization period.
Pub.: 13 Jan '17, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: Competitive firms have achieved significant success through their product and service design strategies by combining operational lean practices with green-;based strategic initiatives. Although lean typically drive green practices, they need not be mutually exclusive. This study showcased three global firms with headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA (e.g., FedEx, H.J. Heinz Company, PPG Industries) that have obtained a competitive advantage with their products and services. Special attention was given to the green production initiatives currently underway inside these organisations. An overview of each firm will be presented as well as specific design methods and techniques used by the firms. A number of research propositions that would be appropriate for further study and research concerning the roles that strategic management, team integration, GSCM-;based initiatives, and implementations can play in new product development and corporate sustainability. These initiatives, both in terms of radical and incremental product innovations, are typically based on a leaner and greener supplier partnerships.
Pub.: 08 Jul '16, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: In this paper, we link three theoretical perspectives – organizational knowledge, ecological knowledge and social–ecological systems – to derive new conceptions of multi-disciplinary, multi-tier, sustainability-oriented knowledge. Our study examines how collaboration between pasta-producer Barilla, the farmers/smallholders supplying the firm and scientists generated sustainability practices in the agri-food industry by creating transformative ecological, technical and scientific knowledge. In 2010, Barilla initiated a sustainable farming project to significantly reduce the environmental impact of cultivating durum wheat, its most important raw material. Core components included replacing monoculture with crop rotation, collectively creating innovative approaches that support farmers’ decision making and generating widely accessible guidelines for sustainability-oriented cropping knowledge and practices. These collaborative efforts initiated profound transformations within and beyond the organization's boundaries via increased production yields, reduced environmental impacts and improved sustainability of farming practices, which generated economic, social and ecological benefits for farmers, surrounding communities and the firm. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Pub.: 05 Sep '16, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: This work, based on previous evidence within international business management research, aims to test the influence of communities’ culture features on corporate environmental sustainability reporting (CESR) practices. To overcome some limitations of conventional statistical approaches applied by previous research, a quantile regression (QR) model is implemented which allows setting a framework to test the working hypotheses in different scenarios that cover divergent firms’ commitment levels to stakeholder engagement and CESR practices development. Our central results addresses that different national culture dimensions present a non-monotonic influence on CESR practices. This result, which is analyzed through the Stakeholder Theory proposals, can be explained because corporate sustainability behaviors are highly sensitive to stakeholders’ pressures and demands which are ultimately conditioned by the cultural environment. Some interesting recommendations for companies’ strategic management and governmental policy-making processes are reported.
Pub.: 23 Sep '16, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: For multi-site organisations, informed decision making on capital investment aimed at improving energy performance and cutting carbon emissions, across a global site base, is a complex problem. This work presents the systematic development and implementation of a novel energy management methodology for multi-site organisations to reach optimal efficiency across their network. The methodology, a Global Energy Management System, is based on the following strategic pillars: (1) Site Characterisation; (2) Performance Evaluation; (3) Energy Strategy; and (4) Shared learnings and dissemination. These pillars are underpinned by essential foundations: (a) Global energy team and communication forum; (b) Knowledge base at site and global level; and (c) Corporate Energy Policy. The methodology incorporates both quantitative performance evaluation using novel key performance indicators and benchmarking, as well as qualitative characterisation using energy management maturity models. The methodology culminates with a systematic, repeatable and scalable decision support framework, underpinned by a multi-criteria decision-making methodology. A detailed case study is presented for a multi-national corporation in the life sciences industry, which resulted in increased awareness of energy and carbon emissions, as well as related impacts on business continuity, corporate sustainability and social responsibility. This triggered increased investment in energy efficiency measures, thus promoting the conditions for continuous improvement towards optimal network performance.
Pub.: 25 Jan '17, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: Forced by competitive, legislative and customers' pressures, corporate executives are supposed to consider sustainability aspects of value creation which induces a new set of challenges within decision-making. Unfortunately, guidelines supporting comprehensive analysis, especially concerning the evaluation of environmental and social performance of decision alternatives, are missing. This hinders the advancements in corporate sustainability. Questions arise on how to measure and balance respective indicators with traditional economic objectives. To fill this void, this research sets out to develop an intuitive and holistic planning framework for advancing sustainability along supply chains. In a first step, we identify sustainability issues and indicators as well as decision-support methods by scrutinizing literature on sustainable supply chain management. Based on this, we develop a planning framework that supports executives in evaluating and deciding upon corporate sustainability initiatives. The framework comprises three consecutive phases of planning: ‘Problem definition’, ‘Assessment of alternatives’, and ‘Decision analysis’. For each phase we propose appropriate tools distinguishing concepts of sustainable supply chain management (e.g. Sustainable Logistics and Sustainable Manufacturing), methods for measuring the ecological and social efficiency of decision alternatives, and quantitative decision-support techniques able to balance trade-offs between the three dimensions of the triple bottom line. As a result, this article presents a framework for guiding corporate decision-processes. From the academic angle, the article contributes to the research field by providing a structured integration of concepts and methods utilizable in the pursuit of ecological and social improvements along the value chain.
Pub.: 22 Mar '17, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: Business may be in the best position to address the world's environmental problems. However, firms are still struggling with the how and when of their sustainability strategies. The goal of this case study is to uncover bridges and barriers to incorporating environmental issues into business strategy. We collect semi-structured depth interviews with upper level executives at a global, B2B manufacturing firm. Analysis reveals six elements of an environmentally sustainable business plan: (1) unify the organizational vision, (2) create visible leadership, (3) address multiple stakeholders, (4) focus on innovation, (5) communicate the message, and (6) implement the strategy. We nest these components under the normative, strategic, and operational management framework of corporate sustainability, and then present future research directions. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Pub.: 10 Apr '17, Pinned: 08 May '17
Abstract: The paper is among the first to consider coopetition strategy in the context of corporate level sustainability. Through examination of literature and an example of an actual coopetitive agreement in wine industry logistics, consideration is given to the potential benefits of and problems with sustainability-based coopetition strategies. The research, based on publicly available information, leads to suggestions for future study into specific theoretical, methodological and pragmatic aspects of sustainability-related coopetition strategies. At a theoretical level, research into the dynamics of coopetition strategies and relationships between win–win and trade-offs within economic, environmental and social performance settings is suggested. As the field of study continues to emerge, a broader set of exploratory case studies involving collaborative engagement and participation of practitioners is needed. Attention is also drawn to a broad range of settings available for further research into the design and implementation of sustainability-related coopetitive strategies exploring advantages for corporations and society. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Pub.: 05 May '17, Pinned: 08 May '17