Corporate Social Responsibility in Denmark

Kristian Høyer Toft*, Jacob Dahl Rendtorff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Denmark presents a country with ambitious policies for corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is reflected by the fact that major Danish companies have promoted the global CSR and sustainability agenda since the 1990s. The Scandinavian countries in general have succeeded in earning a reputation as global sustainability front runners, and Denmark is part of that storyline. The general storyline is about a transformation from limited understandings of CSR to more comprehensive conceptions of sustainability that include.
To show this development, the chapter provides a review of CSR in Denmark spanning the last couple of decades with a purview to government initiatives, the significance of the industrial foundations, and the impact of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
First, two examples are presented of how the government has been actively advancing CSR, making it mandatory for larger businesses to report on the expanding agenda on corporate sustainability, and by establishing ‘The Mediation and Complaints-Handling Institution for Responsible Business Conduct’ in 2012—this is the Danish national OECD contact point.
Second, particular to the Danish business tradition are the Danish industrial foundations. They can be argued to provide favorable conditions for CSR by means of corporate governance that includes the long-term interest and the common good of society.
Third, from the launch of the UN SDGs in 2015, the SDGs have been embraced across all sectors, ranging from the state to major corporations and civil society. The SDG agenda exemplifies a bottom-up governance approach that adjusts well to the Danish tradition for voluntary engagement in democratic decision-making of civil society. We foresee that the SDGs provide a call for new forms of leadership and management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Global Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility : CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance
EditorsSamuel O. Idowu
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9783030683856
ISBN (Electronic)9783030683863
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesCSR, Sustainability, Ethics and Governance

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