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Contemporary discourses around corporate social responsibility and their influence on business and society relations

PhD ceremony:Ms Y. (Yanina) Kowszyk
When:December 15, 2022
Supervisors:F.M.D. (Frank) Vanclay, Prof Dr, prof. dr. M. Badia
Co-supervisor:dr. Walter
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Spatial Sciences

The thesis provides a framework of six key CSR discourses that emerged between 2000 and 2020. (1) A ‘post colonialist discourse’, which understands that CSR seeks to legitimize corporate power and that corporations should define and benefit from the CSR actions. (2) A ‘political ecology discourse’ that posits CSR should aim to respect and avoid actions that could interfere or harm local livelihoods, worldviews, and the culture of local communities. Thus, local communities should define and benefit from the CSR action. (3) A ‘discourse around the policy effects of social movements’, whose main proposition is that policy and institutions are key to rule CSR and business behaviour. For this discourse, social movements and citizens, especially those thinking about development models paths, should define and benefit from CSR. (4) Another discourse is proposing the ‘quantitative measurement of CSR programs’, because this can prove that CSR has positive results for communities and companies. Thus, CSR managers should define what is the CSR action about. (5) The ‘green economy’ discourse, which proposes that the aim of CSR is to transform business models to create carbon neutral companies. Then, multilateral organizations should define the CSR action. (6) And the “environmental, social and governance-ESG- discourse’, which aims to offer low risk investment opportunities, meaning that investors and data vendors should define the content of CSR and that investors should be the main actor receiving benefits from the CSR actions.