Quantifying Corporate Social Responsibility in the value chain

Weidema B P (2002)

Publication info

Presentation for the Life Cycle Management Workshop of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative at the ISO TC207 meeting, Johannesburg, 2002-06-12


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined as “the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life” (Holme & Watts 2000, p. 10). Among the key issues covered by this concept are human rights, employee rights, community involvement and supplier relations. It also covers an open information policy, including issues as disclosure, transparency, consumer education and anti- corruption measures. Depending on how much emphasis is placed on supplier and consumer relations, the concept of CSR comes close to that of Ethical Trade, which can also extend throughout the value chain. Ethical trade is defined as “the array of different initiatives that seek to add social and environmental as well as financial value added through trade” (Burns & Blowfield 1999) or as a trade in which “the behaviour of the traders is regulated by a value system on which consensus has been reached through an open and rational dialogue involving all parties that are affected by the trade” (Pedersen 1991). When these concepts are extended to the entire value chain, the relationship to Life Cycle Management (Weidema 2001) becomes obvious.

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