The research project aims to improve the understanding of how Corporate Social Responsibility can be enhanced in the EU and further contribute to sustainable development. As systematic CSR knowledge is limited and mainly specific, i.e. not combining and analysing evidence from different policy fields and sectors, this project will improve knowledge by conducting surveys on three important economic sectors (oil, fisheries, banks) and a selected number of in-depth case studies in corporations and SMEs. Thus theoretical and practical analysis will be brought together to reach a new quality of research. Evidence from CSR regarding four policy fields will be carefully compared. The theoretical analysis will cover different conceptions and instruments of CSR and develop a sound theoretical and methodological foundation for 'measuring' and explaining the rhetorical and real impacts of CSR instruments, e.g. codes of conduct, reporting standards, on corporative strategies and behaviour. The empirical analysis tackles the impact and governance capacity of CSR on the company, societal and political level. On the company level this will include impacts of CSR instruments on business development, competitiveness and accountability. On a societal and political level it will focus on the contribution of CSR to achieving political goals defined on the EU level in the policy fields of environment (climate/chemicals), resource management, gender equality and countering bribery. Furthermore, it will involve looking at the role of CSR in changing relations between the public and private sector, and in EU enlargement. The research project also aims to provide policy recommendations on where CSR is valuable and point to which political -voluntary vs. regulatory - and corporate frameworks are needed to make CSR an effective governance instrument.
Call for proposal
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