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Does Corporate Responsibility Pay Off? (Comisión Europea y Universidad de Viena, Nov 2010)

Does Corporate Responsibility Pay Off? (Comisión Europea y Universidad de Viena, Nov 2010)

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Published by ComunicaRSE
Exploring the links between CSR and competitiveness in Europe’s industrial sectors.
This study is a sector-specific analysis of how corporate social responsibility
(CSR) might contribute to competitiveness. It builds on the findings of the
European Competitiveness Report 2008 and the respective communication of the
European Commission (SEC (2008) 2853), and is designed to contribute to the
new policy initiative on CSR of the European Commission which is foreseen in the
2010 Communication on Industrial Policy.
The study focuses on three sectors (construction, textile and the chemical
industry)
2
and was carried out in parallel to three sector initiatives, selected and
co-funded by DG Enterprise and Industry.
3
The research objectives are:
° Explore the effects of CSR on competitiveness on a sector-basis.
° Highlight driving and restraining forces of CSR for competitiveness on a
sector-basis.
° Draw relevant conclusions for the EU and other key actors of the
respective sectors.
This report provides
° a summary of scientific approaches to CSR and competitiveness;
° the final survey results on CSR and Competitiveness for the three sectors;
° the lessons learned of the three sector-specific co-funded projects;
° concluding remarks and recommendations;
° information on further readings and the methodology applied in the
annexes.
Exploring the links between CSR and competitiveness in Europe’s industrial sectors.
This study is a sector-specific analysis of how corporate social responsibility
(CSR) might contribute to competitiveness. It builds on the findings of the
European Competitiveness Report 2008 and the respective communication of the
European Commission (SEC (2008) 2853), and is designed to contribute to the
new policy initiative on CSR of the European Commission which is foreseen in the
2010 Communication on Industrial Policy.
The study focuses on three sectors (construction, textile and the chemical
industry)
2
and was carried out in parallel to three sector initiatives, selected and
co-funded by DG Enterprise and Industry.
3
The research objectives are:
° Explore the effects of CSR on competitiveness on a sector-basis.
° Highlight driving and restraining forces of CSR for competitiveness on a
sector-basis.
° Draw relevant conclusions for the EU and other key actors of the
respective sectors.
This report provides
° a summary of scientific approaches to CSR and competitiveness;
° the final survey results on CSR and Competitiveness for the three sectors;
° the lessons learned of the three sector-specific co-funded projects;
° concluding remarks and recommendations;
° information on further readings and the methodology applied in the
annexes.

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Published by: ComunicaRSE on Jan 14, 2011
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04/29/2012

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Does CorporateResponsibilityPay Off?
Exploring the linksbetween CSR and competitivenessin Europe’s industrial sectors
André Martinuzzi, Sabine Gisch-Boie, Adele WimanResearch Institute for Managing Sustainabilityon behalf of the European Commission,Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry
 
 
 
Authors:
André MartinuzziSabine Gisch-BoieAdele Wiman
Contact:
Research Institute for Managing Sustainability (RIMAS)Vienna University of Economics and BusinessFranz Klein Gasse 1, A-1190 Vienna, AustriaSeries editor: André Martinuzzi, Head of the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability (RIMAS),Associate professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, andre.martinuzzi@wu.ac.atFinal Report of the project No ENTR/2008/031, “Responsible Competitiveness”on behalf of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Enterprise and IndustryPublished in the scientific series of the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability,Vienna University of Economics and Business AdministrationVienna, Nov. 2010
Visit
www.sustainability.eu
for
 
More information about our projects
 
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Registration for our newsletter
 
 
Getting in touch with us
The Research Institute for Managing Sustainability atthe Vienna University of Economics is a think-tankfocusing on the areas of Sustainable Developmentand Corporate Social Responsibility. Since itsestablishment around 10 years ago RIMAS hasacquired a Europe-wide recognition, having conductedprojects within five different research fields forseveral EU Directorates General, as well as the EUCommittee of Regions, European Statistical Office, UNDevelopment Programme and a variety of nationalministries. 
 
Does Corporate Responsibility Pay Off?1
Executive Summary 
Background: “why, what and what for”
 What policy  backgroundmotivated thisstudy? What corporate backgroundshaped thisstudy? Which researchquestionsguided this study? Which researchmethodology has been applied?
In a globalized economy, CSR is often claimed as a uniqueproposition of Europe’s businesses to gain and sustain competitiveadvantages. If it could be proven that responsibility pays off, astrong push for dissemination of good CSR practices could beexpected and CSR policies that focus on voluntary instead of command and control would be encouraged.As other studies have shown, many CSR measures are not wellconnected to the main strategic decisions of a company and do notaddress its main societal and environmental impacts. Linking CSRwith competitiveness could foster the dissemination of a morestrategic approach to CSR.While in many publications a positive effect of CSR oncompetitiveness is assumed, there is no empirically proven evidencethat this positive effect always exists. Scientific findings are diverseand sometimes contradicting. The key objective of this study was tofind and describe the links between CSR and competitiveness in thechemical, textile
1
and construction sectors and to draw conclusionsfor public CSR policies and sectoral CSR initiatives.Whilst many other studies are based on CSR reports, sustainabilityindexes or case studies, this study exploits the knowledge of sectoralexperts from trade unions and business associations across Europe.As the links between CSR and competitiveness were not well-knownin advance, we followed an approach of hypothesis generating,conducted 45 telephone interviews and accompanied three sector-specific CSR initiatives during a two-year-period of research.
 
Findings: “Similarities, differences and problems faced”
 What drives andshapesresponsiblecompetitiveness?
At first sight, a number of similarities between the three sectors couldbe found: high importance of low production costs and, on the otherhand, niche market strategies for high end products. However, thedriving forces of competitiveness strongly differ from sector to sector.The chemical industry is driven by innovation and the challenges of responsibly handling dangerous substances. The constructions sectorhas to balance an enormous pressure for low costs on the one handand societal demands on the other. The textile sector is shaped byglobal competition, leaving two main market niches for Europeanmanufacturers: industrial textiles and high-end fashion.
In designing and implementing future CSR initiatives, a sectorspecific approach should take the different “rules of thegame” into account and address the different competitivenessissues and societal demands regarding the respective sector.
1
We included the textile and clothing sector, for better readability we refer to this sector as the textile sector.

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