In Germany, due to ambiguity in the use of the term CSR and the absence of an internationally recognised definition of the term, German companies perceived: “there is only one social responsibility of business – (…) to increase profits.” However, the changing business environment affects the way business is perceived. Some experts view CSR as no more than philanthropic engagement of a company.
CSR is perceived by German companies as: CSR is a company’s contribution to sustainable development; it embraces social and environmental responsibility; it is a dialogue with the stakeholders; it is voluntary engagement and legal enforcement is to be anticipated; CSR is company-specific and its implementation will vary from organisation to organisation; and the CSR is practised in Germany from two dimensions – internal and external.
In Finland, there is a culture of strong compliance to laws and regulations, strong stance on morality, common knowledge and trust, positive attitude towards globalisation, good governance is highly esteemed, and the Tittle Finland thinking influences CSR greatly.
Five companies (Keko, Nokia, UPM-Kymmene, and Danisco-Finland) have formally written their approved-by-the-Board CSR policies for the supply chain. The history of CSR in Sweden has been oscillating – between mid-seventeenth and the mid- nineteenth centuries. Swedish corporations played a prominent role in the local community, contributing to the development of several social institutions, including the fire brigade, medical services, and schools.
Around 1950, when the Swedish industry flourished, corporations contributed to the development of the Swedish welfare state. By 1980s the Swedish rhetoric in private sector changed to shareholder value. During the twentieth century, the debate about social responsibility of business intensified both internationally and in Sweden. Most of the corporations, particularly from IT and telecommunication, retail, materials, industrial goods, financial services and health care, are today communicating their social responsibility on their Web pages.
In corporate Belgium, the CSR is neither a well established concept, nor a popular practice. Corporate Belgium shows great disparities and diversities. CSR in Belgium has taken its own specific route. It can be characterised as implicit rather than explicit (driven by corporations’ self interest. Secondly, there is a high density of small and extra-small companies and a limited number of multinational, who drive for CSR.
On the whole, the CSR will further spread and diffuse. Universities and business schools are doing their best to educate. The penetration of CSR in Greece is definitely small and in its infancy phase. It does not appear to be a systematic activity there. The adoption of CSR is dependent on the size of the company and the sector. Also, CSR does not appear to be related to profitability. In Russia, the social responsibility disclosures are generally poor because of lack of external verification and the lack of completeness.
CSR practices in China are led by the large Western and some Hong Kong-based brands keen to protect their image. The government is also now promoting policies with the “harmonious society”, sustainable development, environmental protection and labour rights.
The CSR in China is often seen as to obey local laws, not exceeding them. In the SCM, it is the Chinese standards, rather than international standards, dominate. It is the large buyers insisting upon implementation of labour laws than the regulators.
Many local Chinese companies hardly understand the relevant laws or the concept of CSR. CSR in Malaysia is restricted to only making corporate donations or philanthropy. There is need for active participation in community development and improving the quality of life.
CSR in the USA continues to be a matter of choice within a market-driven economy. It means for consumers better, safer, and quality products, for employees’ pride, retention, and being an employer of choice, and for the entrepreneur, it is strategy to differentiate from rivals, for policy-makers about building trust, for suppliers about the partner of choice and for the communities about pride, sponsorship, and inclusion.
CSR, originating in the USA, reaches the whole world. Companies often align with NGOs as partners. The companies use market mechanisms for CSR initiatives. However, executives in companies like Fannie Mae made it a trick to collect significant bonuses each year.
In Mexico, lack of transparency and difficult access to information are causing a major hindrance to the authenticity of CSR programmes and are adversely affecting the image of corporations that are implementing CSR.
In Brazil, during the 1960s, the attitude taken by the corporate was that “the problem didn’t exist”; by 1970s, there was a general acceptance that “the problem exists, but it is not mine”; by the 1980s the view changes to that of, “the problem exists, and I know how to solve it”…and today, with all the social problems in the country and pressures from various sources, Brazilian companies are concerned about the problem and how to solve it from its very source.
In this sense, one can argue that Brazilian society is more participative and more pro-active about the subject of CSR than ever before. In case of Turkey, originally people did not know of CSR and its implications. As Turkey is still negotiating its EU admission, it is safe to assume that the future of CSR in Turkey will be promising. CSR in South Africa is influenced by country’s complex and painful history.
CSR has moved from an emphasis on corporate social investment, especially in education and health, to a more integrated approach focussed on sustainable development and linked to collaborative governance initiatives and partnerships. CSR in Australia has a relatively recent history.
Howard liberal government had little interest, but the Rudd labour government immediately ratified Kyoto Protocol. Due to a generous social welfare system, and universal health coverage through Medicare the CSR has not moved beyond Global Warming and Water (because of 2007 drought and 2010 floods).
In brief, the subject of CSR is hardly 20 years old. It addresses a range of environmental, technical, political, economic and policy issues within and across corporate boundaries. Though many people are pessimistic about the future perspectives of CSR, but we are rather hopeful.
But certainly we are not in favour of mandatory spending of 2% on CSR, as being talked in legal circles in India. International business entrepreneurs will see the writings on the wall that it is in their own interest to go in for strategic CSR.