This thesis studies the relationship between companies’ involvement in the development of social responsibility standards and the degree of how much they are influenced by them. The three case companies used for this study are all chocolate manufactures, ranging from the big multinational corporation, Nestlé, to the small Danish, family driven company, Peter Beier Chokolade. In be-tween the two, the Danish company Toms represents the middle sized manufacture. The following research question was stated: To what extent are voluntary CSR-standards to influ-ence corporate behaviour in the chocolate industry and who has influence on the development of these standards? The hypotheses are: 1) Big companies are more likely to adopt CSR-standards because; 2) Big companies are more involved in the development of CSR-standards, making them more streamlined to their corporations. The chocolate industry is challenged by a complex value chain - one of the biggest obstacles be-ing child labour in the cocoa producing countries. Civil society organisations and consumer groups are increasingly demanding that chocolate manufactures guarantee that child labour does not take place in the production of chocolate. This increased pressure on manufactures is what the thesis investigates throughout the chapters. Firstly, the chocolate industry was analysed. The findings of the analysis suggest that it is a highly complex industry. Two important trends were identified: The first trend involves certified cocoa. One way companies can lower the risk of buying cocoa produced under unethical conditions is by buying certified cocoa. However, the supply of certified cocoa cannot meet the increasing demand from manufactures, which pose a challenge for the industry to make it valuable for the cocoa farmers to engage in certification schemes. The second trend is that companies increasingly refer to international principles in their social responsibility reporting. Secondly, voluntary CSR-standards and certification schemes were introduced. It showed a di-verse set of obligations and responsibilities which in the words of Professor David Vogel is termed ‘civil regulation’ (Vogel 2010). Some scientists claim that that economic globalisation has created a structural imbalance between global firms and the market. Combined with governments lack of willingness/capacity to regulate companies, civil regulation schemes emerged. A common feature among the standards is the development process, which often takes place in multi-stakeholder forums, thus incorporating the views of different stakeholder groups. However, the development process is a time-consuming and costly event, which can exclude the less resourceful companies from the process. Thirdly, the three case companies’ approaches to social responsibility were analysed. The findings suggest that the biggest company, Nestlé, works more integrated with social responsibility and has a very open approach to its stakeholders, whereas Toms, still lacks the openness and communica-tion aspects to level with Nestlé. The small Peter Beier Chocolate has a unique approach to social responsibility which may in fact be the most effective of the three, regarding guaranteeing no use of child labour throughout the value chain. Yet, Peter Beier Chocolate does not adhere to any in-ternational principles or standards since the company is run by the vision of the owner who cannot see the value in such initiatives. Fourthly, the findings of the previous analyses were summarised in a new developed model which indicated that the more a company is involved in the development process of a standard, the more likely is it to adopt the principles and integrate it in the company. The model is based on the case study and therefore needs to be further validated against more data and preferably also against other industries. Finally, the findings of the thesis were discussed. Smaller companies do not have the same amount of resources as bigger companies which may keep them from participating in multi-stakeholder events in which social responsibility standards are defined. Therefore, they are less likely to adopt them since their interests can be overlooked. By that, it can be concluded that the hypotheses of this thesis can be accepted.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||152|