Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe: New Book

New book presents results of a three year research project on the sustainability impact of CSR.

The acid test of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is simply this: does it lead to positive impacts on society and the environment or is it just rhetoric? And if yes, how can these impacts be enhanced? A new book ­edited by researchers of the German Oeko-Institut ­ provides answers to these questions. Regine Barth und Franziska Wolff together with other authors describe their insights from three years of EU research on the topic of CSR.  Their conclusion: the rhetoric of CSR still predominates, but selected examples highlight its reality ­ that is, the sustainability impact of CSR. Rhetoric allowed? Only, if the full potential for CSR impact is tapped.

The book presents insights on how this can succeed, what actors may promote it and what preconditions need to be given within companies.

By means of a range of surveys and in-depth case studies the book portrays the effects of companies’ CSR activities in four issue areas:  mitigation of climate change and chemical risk, resource management in marine fisheries, promotion of gender equality and countering of bribery. Strategies, procedures and organisational structures of multi-national as well as small and medium sized companies were analysed within the European oil, banking and fish processing sectors as well as the automotive supply chain. The authors name intra- and extra-company success factors for, and limits of, producing sustainability impacts through CSR. Finally, they discuss the contribution of CSR to achieving public policy goals and the governance paradigms that are necessary to make CSR effective.

Based on an inter-disciplinary approach, the book successfully combines a business and public policy perspective. It will hence be invaluable for both students and researchers interested in the effects of CSR, and will prove a useful tool for policy-makers and CSR practitioners alike.

Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe – Rhetoric and Realities Barth, R. and Wolff, F. (eds.) Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009, 384 pages
ISBN: 978 1 84720 764 7

With contributions from: R. Barth, M. Bohn, H. Csáfor, M. Csete, M. Füle, C. Hochfeld, E. Lerum Boasson, N.C. Nagypál, D. Nicolai, T. Pálvölgyi, K.Schmitt, I. Schultz, J. B. Skjærseth, J. Szlávik, F. Viganò, J. Wettestad, P. Wilkinson, F. Wolff

Hardcover: £ 85,00
Online discount: £ 76,50
Online ordering:

The books’ insights are based on an EU project entitled ‘Rhetoric and Realities: Analysing Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe’ (RARE).  The project was funded from 2004 to 2007 within the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities), contract number CIT2-CT-2004-506 043.  A brochure with main project results can be downloaded from the project website at www.rare-eu.net/index.php?id=4.

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