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Corporate social responsibility reporting: The case of the agri-food sector

Valeria Sodanoa and Martin Hingley

ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE, 2018, vol. 20, issue 1, 93-120

Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (csr) reporting lies in the hands of business organizations themselves. This paper identifies and categorizes the forms of csr that can be consistent with the most important current goals, in a specific sector that touches us all-food. Investigation concerns the actual capability of agribusiness to contribute to sustainability and meet social needs and expectations, and questions whether private regulation is effective; such that societies may be better served by the government case for corporate csr. Theories and concepts of csr are explored, notably to identify the role of the government case. Empirical analysis concerns corporate reporting of business social commitment carried out by agrifood organizations. The Global Reporting Initiative (gri) sustainability reporting guidelines are used to assess the commitment to sustainability of a sample of major agribusiness companies operating in the seed, agrochemical, food processing and retailing industries. The level of comprehensive reporting in social responsibility reports of the selected companies is appraised using a content analysis framework. The results of the study indicate a low level of comprehensive reporting. The paper argues that soft regulation of organizations is not sufficiently comparable enough or effective. Findings recommend that state intervention should not be completely dismissed, and that csr actions and their reporting should be monitored and evaluated by independent third parties. Effort is required to build new institutional frameworks able to increase the level of commitment and fairness of business to their stakeholders and to society at large.

JEL-codes: Q19 H75 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE is currently edited by Maurizio Canavari, Sedef Akg ng”r, Valeria Borsellino, Christine Mauracher, Simona Naspetti, John L. Stanton, Stefanella Stranieri

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